Contesting Europeanism: Discourses and Practices of Pro-migrant Organisations in the European Union

PhD Thesis

Cantat, Celine 2015. Contesting Europeanism: Discourses and Practices of Pro-migrant Organisations in the European Union. PhD Thesis University of East London Social Sciences
AuthorsCantat, Celine
TypePhD Thesis

This study investigates the practices and discourses of groups and networks supporting migrants in the context of the construction of the European Union (EU) and the Europeanisation of immigration and border controls. Its main objectives are: (1) to engage in critical examination of the European political project and the discourse of European belonging that has sustained its construction and consolidation; (2) to observe whether novel contentious practices have emerged to respond to multi-scalar developments associated with harmonisation of immigration-related policies; and (3) to investigate narratives of pro-migrant groups and networks.
The project mobilises ethnographic research focused on pro-migrant organisations and networks in three European Union member states: France, Italy and the United Kingdom. It analyses testimony from participants involved in solidarity initiatives and assesses their perspectives on Europe and European belonging.
This study draws on insights from a range of disciplines including Political Science, International Relations, Security Studies, Historical Sociology and Migration Studies. It embraces an historical approach to European construction and an analysis of global influences upon the development of the EU. It addresses the tensions and conflicts that arise when national, supranational and global processes take their effect upon the European project, and the specific impacts in the area of migration and bordering.
This project concludes that a transnational pro-migrant movement is in formation in the EU. It is characterised by intensified cooperation and communication across borders, the development of new crossborder activist tools and tactics, increasingly complex transnational networks and the formulation of a mutually comprehensible analysis of the EU border regime. Yet this movement-in-formation has not been articulated and integrated around alternative visions of Europe and European identity. I argue that this is due to tensions and contradictions generated by the European project and I develop a critical reflection about processes of European construction and the production of ideas about Europe

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintMar 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited03 Dec 2015
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