Anno Accademico 2023/2024

  • Docente: Michela Ceccorulli
  • Crediti formativi: 8
  • SSD: SPS/04
  • Lingua di insegnamento: Inglese

Conoscenze e abilità da conseguire

The aim of this course is to explore the role of the European Union in the (re)definition of borders. Students are expected to get familiar with the performative function the (re)definition of borders has played for the EU’s own self-identification process and with the different forms of power the EU’s has exerted when engaging in hard and soft forms of bordering in different realms.


Language: main: English; other: Italian, Russian



Borders and boundaries widely intended have opened/closed, have filtered/selected, have included/marginalised at the same time, touching upon multiple issue areas, from health to economy and mobility among others. The reiterated reintroduction of internal controls at national borders in the Schengen territory since the 2015 refugee crisis testifies their malleability and their all but fixed demarcation in time and space.

Borders can be hard (walls, fences, surveillance systems, agencies operations among others) or soft (socially constructed boundaries having to do with processes of self-identification). But what do they mean? How do they frame the EU and what do they tell us of the EU?

The Course offered aims at considering the ‘re-bordering and de-bordering’ power of the EU, looking at different dimensions: internal, external and international. Each dimension is looked at from the point of view of narratives used and practices enacted and privileged realms of examination are EU’s global role in the liberal order, the governance of migration and the impact of and reactions to globalization dynamics. The proposal for a multilingual Course is innovative and relevant in two main ways: first, to emphasise how languages are in themselves powerful bordering device in cognitive terms, conveying specific understanding of ‘otherness’ or ‘affiliation’; and second, to strengthen inter-disciplinary and inter-departmental collaboration.

Last, this Course is extremely interdisciplinary, mirroring in this sense advanced programs offered in international Degrees;  perspectives about borders and boundaries are explored in  specific fields (Critical geography; History of European Integration; political thought; History of Eastern Europe and Central Asia; International relations).



Readings are made available to Students on VIRTUALE or will be available online.

Do notice that the Course will host contributions from more Professors of the Department and beyond. Professor Cecccorulli will be in charge of most of the Classes offered.




Course presentation. Talking of borders

Noel Parker & Nick Vaughan-Williams (2012) Critical Border Studies: Broadening and Deepening the ‘Lines in the Sand' Agenda, Geopolitics, 17, 4, 727-733.

Topic 1. Geopolitics and borders in the contemporary world. Noemi Bergesio (Department of History and Cultures, UNIBO) (2h)

Tuathail, G. Ó. (1996), Critical Geopolitics, London: Routledge. Chapter 1 “Geopolitics” 16-43 and Chapter 5 “Critical approaches to geopolitics”, 112-147.



Topic 2. Fear, Anxiety and the rethinking of security

Huysmans, J. (1998), Security! What do you mean? From concept to thick signifier, European Journal of International Relations, 4, 2, 226-255.

Mitzen, J. (2006), Ontological security in World Politics; state identity and the security dilemma, European Journal of International Relations, 12, 3, 341-370.


Topic 3. Guest lecture - The shifting borders of the European Union Marco Zoppi (Department of Political and Social Science, UNIBO) (2h)

Hooghe, L. and Marks, G. (2019), Grand theories of European integration in the twenty-first century, Journal of European Public Policy, 26, 8, 1113-1133.

Börzel, T.A., Dimitrova, A. and Schimmelfennig, F. (2017), European Union enlargement and integration capacity: concepts, findings, and policy implications, Journal of European Public Policy, 24:2, 157-176

Topic 4. Comunità di confine: il multiculturalismo e l’Unione Europea - Bordering communities: multiculturalism and the European Union’. Maria Laura Lanzillo (Department of Political and Social Science, UNIBO) (4h) – in Italian, with English translation

Cordeiro Rodrigues, L., Multiculturalism, in Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ISSN 2161-0002, https://iep.utm.edu/multicul/

Braidotti, R. (2002), Gender, Identity and Multiculturalism in Europe. First Ursula Hirschmann Annual Lecture on Gender and Europe, 8 May 2001, EUI RSCAS DL, 2002, http://hdl.handle.net/1814/8069

Angeliki , M. and Arvanitis, É. (2019), Multiculturalism in the European Union: A Failure beyond Redemption?, in «The International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations: Annual Review », available online

Topic 5. Shaping borders: EU and ontological (in)security

Della Sala, V. (2017), Homeland security: territorial myths and ontological security in the European Union, Journal of European Integration, 39:5, 545-558.

Waever, O. (1995). Identity, Integration and Security: Solving the Sovereignty Puzzle in E.U. Studies, Journal of International Affairs, 48, 389-431.

Topic 6. EU’s insecurities and external projection

Haastrup, T., Guggan, N. and Mah L., (2021), Navigating ontological (in)security in EU-Africa relations, Global Affairs, 7,4, 541-557.

Johansson-Nogués, E. (2018), The EU’s ontological (in) security: Stabilising the ENP area … and the EU-self?, Cooperation and Conflict, 53,4, 528-544.

Special Lecture: Does the EU have an identity? Sonia Lucarelli (Department of Political and Social Science, UNIBO)

Prutsch 2017, Research for CULT Committee – European Identity, European Parliament, Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies, Brussels. Available at:  [http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2017/585921/IPOL_STU%282017%252] 9585921_EN.pdf

Aliaksei Kazharski (2018) The End of ‘Central Europe’? The Rise of the Radical Right and the Contestation of Identities in Slovakia and the Visegrad Four, Geopolitics, 23:4, 754-780.

Additional, suggested reading:

- Andrey Makarychev (2018) Bordering and Identity-Making in Europe After the 2015 Refugee Crisis, Geopolitics,23:4, 747-753.

- Thierry Chopin, Europe and the identity challenge: who are "we”? European Issue n°466, 2018. available at: https://www.robert-schuman.eu/en/doc/questions-d-europe/qe-466-en.pdf

Topic 7. Guest Lecture -The Borders of the North-Atlantic Community: fencing and expanding NATO. Nicolò Fasola (Department of Political and Social Science, UNIBO)

Goldgeier, J., Itzkowitz Shifrinson, J.R. (2020), Evaluating NATO enlargement: scholarly debates, policy implications, and roads not taken, International Politcs 57, 291- 321 (2020) (choose one article out of the many offered)



Topic 8. Borders, migration and the EU

Bigo, D. (2005), Frontier controls in the European Union: who is in control? In D. Bigo and E. Guild. (eds.), Controlling frontiers, Ashgate, 49-99.

Bauböck, R. (2018), ‘’Refugee Protection and Burden Sharing in the European Union’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 56, 1, 141-156.

Topic 9. Compounded EU’s crises and bordering efforts

Ceccorulli, M., (2019) Back to Schengen: the collective securitisation of the EU free-border area, West European Politics, 42, 2, 302-322, available online

Guild, E. (2021), Schengen Borders and Multiple National States of Emergency: From Refugees to Terrorism to COVID-19, European Journal of Migration and Law, 23, 4, 385-404.

Karamanidou, L and Kasparek, B. (2020), From Exceptional Threats to Normalized Risks: Border Controls in the Schengen Area and the Governance of Secondary Movements of Migration, Journal of Borderlands Studies, 37, 3, 623-643.

Topic 10. Borders out

Boswell, C. (2003), The “external dimension” of EU immigration and asylum policy, International Affairs, 79, 3, 619-638.

Zaiotti, R. (2016), Mapping remote control, in R. Zaiotti (ed), Externalizing Migration Management, Routledge, 3-21.

Topic 11. Technology and borders control

Grappi, G. and Lucarelli, S. (2021), ‘Bordering power Europe? The mobility-bordering nexus in and by the EU, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 30:2, 207-219.

Aradau, C. et al. (2021), ‘Data and new Technologies, the hidden face of mobility control’, Brief Migreurop 12, available online.

Students’ research and presentation of borders’ techniques

Guest Lecture – 'Vernacular borders': perspectives from ethnographic fieldwork in the Trieste borderscape - Noemi Bergesio (Department of History and Cultures, UNIBO)

Cassidy, K., Yuval-Davis, N. and Wemyss, G. (2018), Debordering and everyday (re)bordering in and of Dover: Post-borderland borderscapes, Political Geography 66, 171-179.

Löfflmann, G., and Vaughan-Williams, N. (2018), Vernacular imaginaries of European border security among citizens: From walls to information management, European Journal of International Security 3, 3, 382-400.

Topic 12. Recent changes in Russian understanding of its self positioning between Europe and Asia and the growing intertwining of Russian-led integration processes and migration management. Marco Puleri (Department of Political and Social Science, UNIBO) (2h)

Putin, V, V. (2012), ‘Integration of post-Soviet space an alternative to uncontrolled migration’.

Braghiroli, S. and Makarychev, A. (2018), Redefining Europe: Russia and the 2015 Refugee Crisis, Geopolitics, 23:4, 823-848.



Metodi didattici

Each Professor will engage with the Class differently, as appropriate to the single disciplines. However, a common trait of the Course is its strongly interactive fashion, which cannot be derogated. Work-groups, presentations, debates and confrontation are recurrent tools within the Course.

Modalità di verifica e valutazione dell'apprendimento

As MIREES Course, attendance is mandatory and only a limited unattendance will be tolerated.


Participation in Class is scored 35% of the final grade.

An essay to be sbmitted by the end of the Course (and presented in Class) is worth 65% of the final grade.

Strumenti a supporto della didattica

Power-point presentations; critical analysis of newspapers and media outlets; analysis of official documents

Orario di ricevimento

Consulta il sito web di Michela Ceccorulli


Lavoro dignitoso e crescita economica Ridurre le disuguaglianze Pace, giustizia e istituzioni forti Partnership per gli obiettivi

L'insegnamento contribuisce al perseguimento degli Obiettivi di Sviluppo Sostenibile dell'Agenda 2030 dell'ONU.