Science, Technology and Society

Our Science, Technology and Society list publishes books that examine the social, political and economic implications of developments in science and technology.

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Science, Technology and Society

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The Digital Transformation of the European Border Regime offers an in-depth investigation into the digitization processes of Europe’s border regime. It shows how envisioning future borders drives forward the expansion of databases in the European governance of human mobility. In particular, the study provides a detailed analysis of the sites, operations, and projects of one of the fastest-growing actors in the border regime: the European Union Agency known as eu-LISA. Focusing on eu-LISA as the overseeing body for large-scale IT systems in migration and border control, this book serves as a gateway to understanding the key agents, visions, technologies and practices at work.

The Digital Transformation of the European Border Regime investigates how infrastructure encodes and transmits shared visions of future borders. Therefore, the book explores the social desires, hopes, and future promises—alongside imagined threats and perils—that are embodied in eu-LISA’s approaches to border security. Collective imaginations emerge as subtle compositions that lie at the core of the border regime: they articulate the rationale and justifications behind reshaping mobility governance, underpin the policies that render migration as a digitized, actionable, and governable object, and encode the principles of exclusion and dehumanization in today’s European approaches to migration control. Asking broader questions about discrimination, violence, and mobility rights, this book is an original contribution to our understanding of the evolving landscape of digital borders in Europe.

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This chapter offers a short postscript. It addresses the repercussions of two recent developments: the increased use of Artificial Intelligence in the realm of border and migration control as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. It reflects on the controversies surrounding these phenomena and discusses their potential impact on transforming border infrastructures in the future.

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This chapter delves into the painstakingly laborious social and epistemic efforts involved in making “smart borders”, efforts that are regularly carried out at conferences, meetings, or roundtables. Smart borders emerge here as an epistemological project that shapes how bordering processes can be known, represented and discussed. This chapter argues that the epistemology of smart borders fosters solutionist approaches that promise to offer escape from the empirical realities of migration; escape, however, will never be entirely successful. European “smart borders”, crafted and shaped at policy conferences and meetings, emerge as epistemology of strategic detachment; it avoids the violent and brutal realities of border control rather than addressing important questions about responsibility and accountability in today’s border regime.

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The Powers and Perils of Imagining Future Borders

This book offers an in-depth investigation into the digitisation processes of Europe’s border regime. It shows how sociotechnical imaginations of future borders drive forward the expansion of databases in the European governance of mobility.

With a focus on the European Union Agency eu-LISA, one of the most significant and rapidly advancing actors in the digital border regime, the book serves as a gateway to understanding the key agents, visions, technologies and practices at work.

Asking broader questions about exclusion, discrimination, violence and mobility rights, this is an original contribution to our understanding of future borders in Europe.

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Between the book’s chapters, I provide three empirical vignettes, termed “Interludes”, with reflections, personal impressions of fieldwork, notes on methodology, or empirical challenges. They should offer the reader a firsthand account of doing research in the digital border regime. Illustrating concrete episodes of fieldwork, I find them particularly advantageous for conveying some of the important personal reflections that undergird the theoretical arguments in the book.

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The Digital Transformation of the European Border Regime offers an in-depth investigation into the digitization processes of Europe’s border regime. It shows how envisioning future borders drives forward the expansion of databases in the European governance of human mobility. In particular, the study provides a detailed analysis of the sites, operations, and projects of one of the fastest-growing actors in the border regime: the European Union Agency known as eu-LISA. Focusing on eu-LISA as the overseeing body for large-scale IT systems in migration and border control, this book serves as a gateway to understanding the key agents, visions, technologies and practices at work.

The Digital Transformation of the European Border Regime investigates how infrastructure encodes and transmits shared visions of future borders. Therefore, the book explores the social desires, hopes, and future promises—alongside imagined threats and perils—that are embodied in eu-LISA’s approaches to border security. Collective imaginations emerge as subtle compositions that lie at the core of the border regime: they articulate the rationale and justifications behind reshaping mobility governance, underpin the policies that render migration as a digitized, actionable, and governable object, and encode the principles of exclusion and dehumanization in today’s European approaches to migration control. Asking broader questions about discrimination, violence, and mobility rights, this book is an original contribution to our understanding of the evolving landscape of digital borders in Europe.

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This chapter investigates current efforts to establish an interoperable biometric border regime. It explores how the technical concept of interoperability is performed and translated into a powerful policy for infrastructuring borders in Europe. Furthermore, it suggests that policymaking has been dominated by enacting solutionist ways of seeing and speaking about borders and migration. The complex concept of interoperability is thereby proposed as a convenient set of solutions to renewed problem-constructions, including the EU’s lack of authority in border policymaking, the complexity of the database landscape, and the uncertainty around capturing and fixing mobile identities. Interoperability has thus emerged as a necessary fiction in the border regime, directing visions, political discourse and epistemic orientations toward a collectively imagined future of border (in)security.

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The Digital Transformation of the European Border Regime offers an in-depth investigation into the digitization processes of Europe’s border regime. It shows how envisioning future borders drives forward the expansion of databases in the European governance of human mobility. In particular, the study provides a detailed analysis of the sites, operations, and projects of one of the fastest-growing actors in the border regime: the European Union Agency known as eu-LISA. Focusing on eu-LISA as the overseeing body for large-scale IT systems in migration and border control, this book serves as a gateway to understanding the key agents, visions, technologies and practices at work.

The Digital Transformation of the European Border Regime investigates how infrastructure encodes and transmits shared visions of future borders. Therefore, the book explores the social desires, hopes, and future promises—alongside imagined threats and perils—that are embodied in eu-LISA’s approaches to border security. Collective imaginations emerge as subtle compositions that lie at the core of the border regime: they articulate the rationale and justifications behind reshaping mobility governance, underpin the policies that render migration as a digitized, actionable, and governable object, and encode the principles of exclusion and dehumanization in today’s European approaches to migration control. Asking broader questions about discrimination, violence, and mobility rights, this book is an original contribution to our understanding of the evolving landscape of digital borders in Europe.

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This chapter, rather than concluding with an exhaustive summary of all empirical findings, aims to succinctly draw together some of the core arguments in this book. Its purpose is to emphasize some of the problematic implications and risks associated with these findings, serving as a foundation for further reflection on countering the worrying trends and developments in contemporary digital border management. This includes, for instance, the severe power imbalances and forms of automated suspicion introduced and reinforced by digital technologies at the border. In summary, this chapter suggests engaging with three primary critiques of the digital transformation of the European border regime: the emergent modes of justification, the variant forms of techno-determinism, and the perils stemming from imagining future borders as sanitized and dehumanizing realities.

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The Digital Transformation of the European Border Regime offers an in-depth investigation into the digitization processes of Europe’s border regime. It shows how envisioning future borders drives forward the expansion of databases in the European governance of human mobility. In particular, the study provides a detailed analysis of the sites, operations, and projects of one of the fastest-growing actors in the border regime: the European Union Agency known as eu-LISA. Focusing on eu-LISA as the overseeing body for large-scale IT systems in migration and border control, this book serves as a gateway to understanding the key agents, visions, technologies and practices at work.

The Digital Transformation of the European Border Regime investigates how infrastructure encodes and transmits shared visions of future borders. Therefore, the book explores the social desires, hopes, and future promises—alongside imagined threats and perils—that are embodied in eu-LISA’s approaches to border security. Collective imaginations emerge as subtle compositions that lie at the core of the border regime: they articulate the rationale and justifications behind reshaping mobility governance, underpin the policies that render migration as a digitized, actionable, and governable object, and encode the principles of exclusion and dehumanization in today’s European approaches to migration control. Asking broader questions about discrimination, violence, and mobility rights, this book is an original contribution to our understanding of the evolving landscape of digital borders in Europe.

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