State Project Europe

Brief project description

[] The research project is a contribution to the analysis of the transformation of statehood in the context of globalisation. As a regional response to the latter the European integration has led to supranational institutions whose functions and competences had been core elements of nation states till then. The development since 1998 has in particular brought about European politics of migration control which challenge classical approaches of (nation-) state theory. This is because these developments imply the emergence of a territory overlapping national boundaries, as they involve transnational population control and shifts in the state’s monopoly on the use of violence and citizenship legislation. Against this background the aim is to empirically analyse the new ensemble of institutions that is emerging within this process. On the basis of the premise that the concrete form of the political is always the result of social struggles this project is intended to examine the different forces in the negotiation process about the concrete politics on migration control and their materialization in the form of legal norms, jurisdiction and institutional political practices on EU level as well as on the level of different EU member states (Germany, Great Britain, Spain). This is going to be done from three perspectives of analysis using four specific case studies (see below).

We assume that the unity of the national territorial state, which has evolved under specific historical circumstances in the 17th century, is disintegrating in the processes described above. In fact the state’s apparatuses re-group with European ones and form a re-territorialised and increasingly differentiated control apparatus which governs people alongside the constitution of zones of stratified legal titles.

On the basis of four case studies each zone of stratification – characterized by a hierarchy of rights to mobility – will be examined. These include the following:

Zone 1: EU citizens/citizenship
Zone 2: legal migration
Zone 3: refugees/protection of refugees (asylum, in particular protection from gender-specific persecution)
Zone 4: illegalised migration (using the example of FRONTEX)

Furthermore these case studies will be examined based on three perspectives of analysis.

Perspective 1: social relationship of forces

Our analysis is based on the assumption that state modification evolves from modifications in social relationships of forces and hence can be explained above all by taking these into consideration. Referring to Antonio Gramsci and Pierre Bourdieu the term ›relationship of forces‹ implies those social forces and interests (1) that are respectively positioned towards each other within a social space (2), and their – depending on specific resources and power potentials in each case (i.e. the economical, cultural and social capital as well as the political grade of organisation) (3) – expression in social negotiations (4).

Perspective 2: political materialization

Against the background of these relationships of forces the re-configuration of the state apparatuses, which are relevant for migration politics, is to be examined on a European scale. Thereby the relationship of forces within the state apparatuses are not identical with the social relationships of forces in general; they rather feature a certain innate logic which embodies social negotiations materializing in ever specific ways within the apparatuses. The latter in turn develop a relative autonomy towards the immediate struggles. Furthermore each state apparatus exhibits a different structural selectivity so that it is not accessible for all interests likewise.

Perspective 3: judicial materialization

Given that the stratification is carried out alongside different rights, a legal theory approach that allows an empirical analysis of the legal positions exemplified by the four case studies seems to be very useful. So far research on the ›transnationalisation of law‹ has significantly concentrated on the regulation of political-economical regimes such as WTO law, financial markets, the Single European Market, the lex mercatoria or European Private Law. The field of migration law and control in the context of processes of re-territorialisation might broaden the analysis of the fragmented transnational law and theoretically integrate global regulation of migration, security law as well as rule of law and citizenship. Thereby it is to be examined how the social relationship of forces and their constellations shape the logic of the legal form.