Duration 01.10.2018 - 30.09.2021

European borders of the future? Exploring the technological imperative in Europe’s border regime

Researcher: Paul Trauttmansdorff 

SupervisorUlrike Felt

Funding: ÖAW - Austrian Academy of Sciences

Project Description 

Borders have moved high onto the agenda of European states. One central characteristic of the attempts of the European Union to manage borders and mobility is the development and use of digital technologies and IT systems. This dissertation project investigates the reasonings and wider imaginaries of future border security that are embedded in the increasing resort to information technology. In doing so it explores the myriad ways in which the construction of technological infrastructures is entangled with visions of future borders and promises of security in the Schengen area. How do large-scale technological systems perform, articulate and sustain future visions of border (in)security? What are the wider imaginations of future borders and border control and how are they inscribed into the infrastructural build-up across European states. The dissertation examines the roles of various actors and institutions involved, in particular the role of the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems (eu-LISA).

The study combines different methods of qualitative social science research, combining ethnographic approaches, including field visits and participant observations at several research sites, expert interviews with technicians, policy makers, and practitioners, as well as extensive document analysis. It combines analytical perspectives and insights from Science and Technology Studies, but also Critical Security Studies and Migration Studies. 

The project aims at contributing to a better understanding of the constant work and negotiations around emerging technological infrastructures and how they shape understandings and practices of bordering in Europe. At the same time, it will shed a light on the processes of crafting and stabilizing particular imaginaries of future border security and how they maintain social and political orders. The focus of this study is therefore an analysis of co-production of scientific knowledge(s), border technologies, and politics of security in Europe.


Conference presentations & workshops

  • EASST Conference (European Association for the Study of Science and Technology), 25.07.2018-28.07.2018, Lancaster (UK), presentation by Paul Trauttmansdorff, “The making of space in European border governance”
  • STS Italia Conference“Technoscience from below”, 14.06-2018 -16.06.2018, Padova (Italy), presentation by Paul Trauttmansdorff, “Digital space and the European border regime”