In the shadow of the European neighbourhood

Political geographies of EU–Middle East relations

Authored by: Virginie Mamadouh

Routledge Handbook of EU–Middle East Relations

Print publication date:  December  2021
Online publication date:  December  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367330767
eBook ISBN: 9780429317873
Adobe ISBN:


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Focusing on the spatiality of EU–Middle East relations, political geography, critical geopolitics and critical border studies provide tools to explore EU–Middle East relations and their impact on EU politics. Four sets of geographical concepts are particularly useful: (1) geopolitical representations and geographical imaginations (pertaining to EU and national discourses framing these relations), (2) scale and scaling processes (in the networks involving supranational, national and subnational entities), (3) region and region-making (foregrounding the institutionalisation of Europe, the Middle East and other relevant regions such as the European Neighbourhood, the Mediterranean, the Arab or the Muslim World, the Gulf. . .), and (4) borders, the bordering of the EU and the othering of the Middle East and the Levant. While the actorness of the EU in international politics is more often than not contested, the EU’s engagement in the Middle East is particularly fragmented. An analysis of differences and similarities between the geopolitical visions and codes of the EU, that of its Member States and that of states in the area, with particular attention to scalar, regional and border frames, enables us to grasp the enduring tensions between the foreign policies of the EU and its Member States in the Middle East.

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