Butler Journal of Undergraduate Research

Faculty Sponsor

Dr Marijn Nieuwenhuis


The fundamental problem of Europe’s borders is how a bounded social reality is to be organized, primarily meaning who is to be included and who is to be excluded. The present refugee crisis has only served to expose and intensify this raison d'être of borders as exclusionary mechanisms which carry great political, economic, and symbolic weight, frequently much to the detriment of those excluded by them. Primarily drawing from the international political sociological work of Didier Bigo and affiliated scholars, I present a theoretical paper coupled with relevant empirical examples to present a critique of the exclusionary modes of operation of Europe’s borders and the techniques that enable them. Exploring the constitution of Europe’s borders as technologically-enabled to decouple from the conventional spatial groundings of borders, I analyze the relationality between the logics, objectives and functions of Europe’s borders in relation to the dominant discursive framing of refugees and migrants in the context of the recent migrant crisis in Europe. I hold that this tragic event has not suddenly created new problems for Europe’s borders, immigration, and asylum systems, but simply exposed the multiple failures of the control and management practices inbuilt in the EU’s border regime.