Diagnosing the European Union’s Present: Chronic Solidarity Disease, Domopolitics and the Migrant Crisis

  • Abstract:

    The perception of values, their content and meaning, is a problem for the European Union (EU) especially as the Member States and institutions have attempted to act in a spirit of solidarity. However, the adoption of a holistic approach to treat the migrant crisis has proven tumultuous and not without its problems. This paper will discuss how the EU’s handling of the migrant crisis creates a façade of a ‘turning point’ in EU relations while grounding actions taken in a condition of presentism through the holistic treatment of wider afflictions through the narrative of crisis. It addresses the problem of understanding the EU’s response as something beyond immediate action to save lives. It illuminates alternative narratives which speak beyond the governmentalities of security, unease and risk and go right to a crisis at the heart of the EU rights project – the understanding of solidarity. The results of an empirical analysis of policy, the interpretations of law made to formulate it and articulations of key stakeholders and individuals it will be presented. The paper will address how the EU conceives of itself as a home and detail how the migrant crisis poses a threat to the values comprising this home. By analysing the articulation of the values of rights, solidarity and shared responsibility by the EU institutions and comparing them with the mandates of the actors delivering the response pragmatically, the paper will emphasise the presence of domopolitics. Therefore, the paper illustrates that the migrant crisis is a symptom of a greater condition affecting the EU. Due to this wider state of unwellbeing, the EU is engaging in a domopolitical governmentality in order to tame and domesticate migration that could intensify the symptoms of a chronic solidarity disease. Thus, the migrant crisis is a turning point, a moment where it can be either cured, or worsened.