A Moveable East: Identities, Borders and Orders in the Enlarged EU and its Eastern Neighbourhood

  • Benjamin Tallis

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis explores EU borders and bordering in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in the context of the 2004 EU enlargement, the 2007 extension of the Schengen zone and the 2004 Eastern Dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) that, in 2009, was upgraded to the Eastern Partnership (EaP). The thesis links borders with identities and governing orders to argue that while the EU has successfully included, inter alia, Czechs and Poles, it has excluded Ukrainians sufficiently to impact negatively on their lives and on the achievement of EU goals in the neighbourhood. The de-bordering and re-bordering inherent to enlargement, Schengen, ENP and EaP have (partially) displaced CEE borders from traditional locations at state frontiers. Bordering activities still take place within the supposedly borderless Schengen zone as well as at external frontiers with neighbouring states, but the EU has also exported border practices onto the territories of its neighbours. These processes prompted the questions addressed in this thesis: where, how, why and with what effects the EU makes its borders in CEE. An analytical framework - the 'Borderscape' - is developed to explore the complex manifestations of post-frontier bordering and to understand its socio-political, spatial and temporal underpinnings, and the consequences that EU bordering has for identities and subjectivities, order and governance in CEE. The borderscape encompasses border features, bordering discourses and bordering practices, which are constituted by EU and national governmental actors, border security and law enforcement agencies, by civil society actors and the people who move and dwell in the region. The borderscape is tailored to the regional particularities of CEE, with specific reference to processes of post-communist transition, EU accession and the EU's engagement with its neighbours, specifically Ukraine. The findings of the research are based on extensive, interpretive fieldwork conducted in the Czech Republic, Poland and Ukraine.The thesis shows the various sites, forms and functions of contemporary EU bordering that comprise a diverse yet connected border archipelago stretching from the Schengen interior into the Eastern neighbourhood. The EU's bordering discourses are shown to be plural and often contradictory: notions of freedom, security and justice and the desire to benefit from sharing these with Central and Eastern Europeans are juxtaposed with narratives of fear, suspicion and narrow-minded self-interest. The EU's Europeanised bordering practices, including Risk Analysis and the protection of both borders and migrants, have enhanced mobility for EU-Europeans (such as Czechs and Poles) who now share in the highly desirable form of order that it has created. However, the EU has also restricted mobility for Ukrainians, who are still seen as 'Eastern-Europeans'. The borderscape betrays the EU's internal crises of identity and confidence, which has had psycho-social exclusionary effects on Ukrainians and contributed to the politico-strategic crisis in the Eastern Neighbourhood. However this analysis also points to ways that the EU can address these issues.
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPeter Lawler (Supervisor) & Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet (Supervisor)


  • Affect
  • Interpretive Research
  • Materiality
  • Postcommunism
  • Pragmatism
  • Mobility
  • Security
  • Subjectivity
  • Identity
  • Central and Eastern Europe
  • European Union
  • Borders

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