A Foucaultian view on spill-over: freedom and security in the EU

Huysmans, Jef (2004). A Foucaultian view on spill-over: freedom and security in the EU. Journal of International Relations and Development, 7(3) pp. 294–318.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.jird.1800018


How do we interpret the nature and reach of the spill-over of the internal market into an internal security field? How do we account for the construction of a European modality of government that regulates free movement through the administration of its dangers? In this article, I propose a Foucaultian conceptual framework that emphasizes the constitutive role of technologies of government. It directs attention to how the development and application of technological devices — such as European visa and databases — professional knowledge and skills, and technocratic routines structure the relation between freedom and security. This framework shifts attention from the focus on agenda-setting to policy implementation, but it does not conceptualize the latter as simply implementation of a political decision but as decisions and processes that are themselves constitutive of modalities of government. The conceptual arguments are developed with special reference to the ‘securitization’ of the free movement of persons, and more specifically migration and asylum.

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