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Cultures of Border Control

Schengen and the Evolution of European Frontiers

In recent years, a number of European countries abolished national border controls in favor of Europe’s external frontiers. In doing so, they challenged long-established conceptions of sovereignty, territoriality, and security in world affairs. 

Setting forth a new analytic framework informed by constructivism and pragmatism, Ruben Zaiotti traces the transformation of underlying assumptions and cultural practices guiding European policymakers and postnational Europe, shedding light on current trends characterizing its politics and relations with others. The book also includes a fascinating comparison to developments in North America, where the United States has pursued more restrictive border control strategies since 9/11. As a broad survey of the origins, evolution, and implications of this remarkable development in European integration, Cultures of Border Control will be of interest to students and scholars of international relations and political geography.

280 pages | 2 line drawings, 9 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2011

Political Science: Diplomacy, Foreign Policy, and International Relations

Sociology: Individual, State and Society


"Ruben Zaiotti provides a fascinating, comprehensive, and intelligent analysis of the role of culture in the evolution of international borders. This exceptionally crafted piece of theoretical and empirical work will be a must read for anyone interested in how nature and nurture combine to construct international reality.”

Emanuel Adler | University of Toronto

“This book succeeds in making a convincing case for a cultural evolutionary approach to study changes in international regimes, focusing on variation, selection, and retention of cultures of practice. As a welcome alternative perspective to the field of regime analysis, it makes important contributions to international relations theory, the study of communities of practice, and the meaning of borders in a changing world.”

Antje Wiener | University of Hamburg

“Cultures of Border Control offers a full-scale academic analysis of the development of the Schengen area, a zone of countries within Europe that have removed most of their border controls and now allow free movement of persons across their national boundaries. Timely and well-written, it takes up a set of issues that cut across a wide variety of scholarly and public affairs arenas, and raises questions about broader transformations in boundaries and borders in the twenty-first century.”

Kathleen McNamara | Georgetown University

“Ruben Zaiotti takes on the intergovernmental reading of the development of Schengen and, instead, offers a cultural evolutionary framework that highlights how background assumptions and practices of border control changed via mechanisms of variation and selection. . . . [Zaiotti] makes an important contribution to the field and international security more generally that is too often neglected by scholars of International Relations and comparative politics.”

International Affairs

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