Cultures of Border(less) Control
In a recent post for the Yale University Press blog, Eva Ledóchowicz (our shared sales representative for Eastern Europe) penned an article on the potential of the ebook as a “book without border,” linking the changing landscape of publishing (for better or worse) with developments in the European Union surrounding ID-free travel made possible by laws governing the Schengen area.
The Schengen area came to be on March 26, 1995, when five original signatories (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands) implemented the Schengen Agreement (1985, named for Schengen, Luxembourg, where the document was first signed) into law, allowing for what approaches a single state for international travel, with no internal border controls (harkening back to pre-World War I days, when one could travel from Paris to St. Petersburg without a passport). Two years later, and twenty-five countries were onboard. In recent years, concerns over the pressure to provide shared security for the entire Schengen region, along with the preferences of individual nations over migration, has led to a new vulnerability for Schengen, its member nations, and those travelers who come and go within its amorphous borders.
In Cultures of Border Control: Schengen and the Evolution of European Frontiers, political scientist Ruben Zaiotti traces the changing assumptions and cultural practices that led European policymakers to challenge long-established conceptions of sovereignty and security. While Zaiotti broadly surveys the implications of this new European integration, he also contrasts Schengen with post-9/11 developments in North America, where more restrictive control of borders has become a dominant theme.
Scholarship like Zaiotti’s helps us to understand the circumstances and principles that shape territoriality in our globalized society, and Eva’s post is an incisive first-hand account of what it might mean to be borderless (as commerce, ideas, or persons) in our twenty-first century world—we recommend you have a look at both.