Archives For with Joe Painter

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…

via society and space. Part of the forum “Governing mobility through European Hotspot Centres.”

 

On a quiet spring morning on the promenade of the port of Mytilene, on the Greek island of Lesbos, a strange sight caught our attention: flying high on a mast just inside the port gates were two peculiarly selected flags, the French and the Finnish. Perhaps something of a random choice, maybe even a computer error picking up the two EU member-states starting with an “F”, we joked at that time. But a few hours later, during our meeting with the European Commission’s representative on the island as part of our research on the migration crisis, the record was put painstakingly straight: far from a mistake, this was a strategic choice ahead of the visits of the French and the Finnish ambassadors to Greece to the island that week.

The Office of the Commission stationed in Mytilene was tasked with presenting these two state representatives with a pristine image of the hotspot on the island: the image of some seemingly unhindered and seamless operation of the hotspot, along with all of its ancillary mechanisms. Like salespeople charged with selling a future car model, or real estate agents promoting an apartment through a brochure while construction is still taking place, the Mytilene-stationed officials have been commissioned with convincing EU member-state representatives of the efficiency of the hotspot while the mechanism itself is still under construction. Continue Reading…