Book Chapter

"We Want to Hear From You": Reporting as Bordering in the Political Space of Europe

Published 22 February 2017 / By Dace Dzenovska

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In this chapter, I show how bordering Europe in conditions of freedom relies on citizen involvement through practices of reporting on suspected strangers, but also on family members, neighbors and tenants. On the basis of analysis of bordering practices of the Latvian State Border Guard and the UK Home Office, I argue that analysis of reporting as a technology of government and an element of public culture is crucial for understanding the subjects and socialities that contemporary liberal democratic political regimes assume, deploy and produce, and thus for understanding the polities that they make possible. Since in recent history reporting has been associated with political repertoires of totalitarian states, I use the historical-analytical lens of socialism to bring into focus the specificities of reporting in liberal democratic contexts. I suggest that state-based socialism and postsocialist transformations can be work as “portable analytics” that help to illuminate the power of freedom to obscure the work of power in liberal democratic contexts.


Dzenovska, D. (2017) '"We Want to Hear From You": Reporting as Bordering in the Political Space of Europe' in De Genova, N. (ed) The Borders of "Europe": Autonomy of Migration, Tactics of Bordering, Duke University Press