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Working Paper 56

The Transformation of European Migration Governance

Andrew Geddes - November 2013 Download


This paper explores the role played by the production and use of knowledge about international migration – or to be more specific the incompleteness of such knowledge –in driving new forms of EU migration governance. The focus is on the transformation of modes of governance linked to the roles played by instrumental, social and communicative logics of institutional action. The paper shows that, while the key referent for migration governance in Europe remains the state and associated state-centered logics of control, it is now evident that both the understanding of the issues and the pursuit of policy objectives are clearly shaped by the EU. A key reason for this is the role played by uncertainty related not only to the causes and effects of international migration, but also about the actual numbers of international migrants living both regularly and irregularly in EU member states. In contrast to existing approaches that see uncertainty and incomplete knowledge as causes of policy failure, this paper sees uncertainty and incomplete knowledge as creating social and political opportunities for EU action linked to the quest for more and ‘better’ knowledge with resultant conceptual and practical space for ‘transgovernmental’ relations among government units working across borders.