In Political Geography this morning.
Joe Painter, Evie Papada, Anna Papoutsi Antonis Vradis,
Received 26 January 2017, Accepted 27 February 2017, Available online 7 March 2017
What is a hotspot? Ask a random passer-by in your average city street and the by now ubiquitous wireless internet access point will most probably come up immediately in response: the hotspot is somewhere that connects you to the internet’s everywhere. Ask most European Union officials, however, and the very same word will make them sing the praises of the EU’s blueprint for a holistic approach to the migration crisis: a very special “somewhere” that may very well be on its way to become―as this editorial wishes to warn―a new kind of “everywhere”, one that commences with the decades-long European integration finally reaching a tangible form.
In this editorial we reflect on our fieldwork in Lesbos and Athens as part of the Transcapes project (part of ESRC’s Mediterranean Migration Research Programme, 2015–2017) in order to call for a threefold direction for future research. First, we argue geographers need to take seriously into account the ramifications of the EC’s hotspot approach for the future of the EU integration project as a whole. This will then add to, and bring to date geographical thinking over the production of EU territory in the past decade (Bialasiewicz, Elden, & Painter, 2005) below and beyond its mainstream portrayal as an ‘uncertain’ Union (Bialasiewicz, 2008); one that is to the contrary built meticulously through everyday, calculative practices (Luukkonen & Moisio, 2016). Second, we argue that the birth of the hotspot needs to be brought into, and to update the discussion on the future of the nation-state within (Leitner, 1997) and beyond (Swyngedouw, 2000) the EU project. From the revival of area studies in spite and against the prevalence of the nation-state (Sidaway, Ho, Rigg, , & Woon, 2016) to the quest of cities for autonomy from their immediate regional or even their national context (Bulkeley et al., 2016) geographers are already tracing the ongoing globally occurring shift in the relationship between political power and territory (Elden, 2009 ; Sassen, 2012) while striving to answer what the future geographical distribution of said power might look like after the nation-state. Third, the hotspot offers a stark warning on the future of mobility (Painter, Papoutsi, Papada, & Vradis, 2016); the way in which the state creates differentiated temporalities (Griffiths, Rogers & Anderson, 2014; Vitus, 2010), altered geographies (Mountz, 2016) and mobility regimes (Shamir, 2005) and exposes certain populations to these regimes through new, arbitrary and wholly flexible categories. A transformation that opens up a new chapter in the nature of citizenship and territory-related rights: Studying the EC hotspot approach is now key in answering these questions. Continue Reading…