European countries face pressing problems in the wake of recent unprecedented levels of global forced migration. As a security and humanitarian issue, the migration crisis necessitates closer cooperation between and beyond European countries: intelligence sharing, counter-terror measures and joint border operations. Simultaneously, austerity and falling welfare budgets are fuelling exclusionary policies, a retreat from the Union and a re-assertion of sovereign borders.
On all sides of the debate, actors invoke the ‘new’ insecurities generated by the crisis – from refugee vulnerability to mobile terrorist threats. Europe’s current crisis, however, is re-posing perennial political, social and moral problems related to (in)security. Indeed, the claim that Europe’s migration and security crisis is entirely new must be treated critically.
Our research network focuses attention on what the claim to novelty allows governing bodies to do in the name of security: enrol new actors in managing migration; authorise new surveillance technologies, constrain citizens’ freedoms and limit migrant protection. We are interrogating the relationship between mobility and security in the contemporary crisis and ask how deep-seated social, economic and cultural divisions are being rearticulated.