Schengen area shaken: the impact of immigration-related threat perceptions on the European security community

  • Tal Dingott AlkopherEmail author
  • Emmanuelle Blanc


In light of the recent European refugee crisis, the article uses the concept of security community (SC), in order to explore the destabilising impact of immigration-related threat perceptions on the Schengen area. Theoretically, it is nourished by the will to support efforts by security community researchers to explore the challenges besetting security communities rather than just tracing their evolution. Viewed from a constructivist prism, the article describes how, through a complex social process, immigration-related threat perceptions can trigger a security dilemma dynamic among SC states, undermining the SC’s basic trust and common identity, and encouraging states to abandon cooperative norms for unilateral defensive practices. Empirically, we show how immigration-related threat perceptions are working against the Schengen regime by examining well-established evaluation indicators in the SC literature. Finally, two avenues for future research are suggested in considering how to surmount the negative dynamics: the first draws on the existing desecuritisation literature, the second builds on the existing SC literature addressing the rehabilitation of collective identities and trust among an SC’s members in times of crisis.


security communities immigration security dilemma securitisation schengen area Europe 



A version of this paper was presented at the Halbert Workshop 2014, Jerusalem, Israel, at the 2014 ISA Annual convention in Toronto as well as at a conference on ‘The Relevance of Regions and Area Studies in a Globalized World’ at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, December 2015. The authors would like to thank Emanuel Adler, Frank Schimmelfennig, Galia Bar Nathan, Ron Krebs and Amir Lupovici for insightful comments on earlier drafts. Moreover, they would like to thank Aviad Levy for research assistance, as well as the Davis Institute of International Relations at the HU for generous seed money for the project.


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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.London School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK

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