Genealogies of governance have a significant contribution to make to studies of the European Union (EU). Genealogies denaturalize relations of rule by revealing the overlooked or hidden history of the practices and knowledges that underpin the exercise of political power. They also sensitize us to little shifts in practices that are often overlooked by general theories of governance. This argument is developed through a critical analysis of EUROSUR, a project the EU has recently launched to enhance and better integrate border surveillance capabilities at EU external frontiers. The paper has three aims. First, to enhance the intelligibility of EUROSUR through a historical focus on one if its key concepts, situational awareness. Second, to explore the relationship between this concept, its material infrastructure, and the emergence of a new time-space that I call the situation. This time-space materializes in contexts where information, infrastructure, and reaction capabilities combine in such a way that social events and emergencies can be monitored and acted upon in near real time: a state of affairs I call 'live governance'. Finally, the paper asks what is at stake when we write genealogies of very contemporary, fluid regimes of power. It concludes that EUROSUR is better analysed as a dynamic and experimental assemblage of elements rather than the kind of relatively stable and enduring apparatus that interested Foucault. Describing it as an assemblage is intended to counterbalance the tendency, evident in some areas of security studies, to overestimate the solidity of new governance arrangements.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL
Journal Comparative European Politics
Walters, W. (2017). Live governance, borders, and the time-space of the situation: EUROSUR and the genealogy of bordering in Europe. Comparative European Politics, 15(5), 794–817. doi:10.1057/s41295-016-0083-5