Tracking Europe

Mobility, Diaspora, and the Politics of Location

Tracking Europe

Book Pages: 220 Illustrations: 16 illustrations Published: February 2010

Cultural Studies, European Studies, Globalization and Neoliberalism

Tracking Europe is a bold interdisciplinary critique of claims regarding the free movement of goods, people, services, and capital throughout Europe. Ginette Verstraete interrogates European discourses on unlimited movement for everyone and a utopian unity-in-diversity in light of contemporary social practices, cultural theories, historical texts, media representations, and critical art projects. Arguing against the persistent myth of borderless travel, Verstraete shows the discourses on Europe to be caught in an irresolvable contradiction on a conceptual level and in deeply unsettling asymmetries on a performative level. She asks why the age-old notion of Europe as a borderless space of mobility goes hand-in-hand with the at times violent containment and displacement of people.

In demystifying the old and new Europe across a multiplicity of texts, images, media, and cultural practices in various times and locations, Verstraete lays bare a territorial persistence in the European imaginary, one which has been differently tied up with the politics of inclusion and exclusion. Tracking Europe moves from policy papers, cultural tourism, and migration to philosophies of cosmopolitanism, nineteenth-century travel guides, electronic surveillance at the border, virtual pilgrimages to Spain, and artistic interventions in the Balkan region. It is a sustained attempt to situate current developments in Europe within a complex matrix of tourism, migration, and border control, as well as history, poststructuralist theory, and critical media and art projects.


Tracking Europe is a very timely work that explores some of the most pertinent and problematic issues involved in thinking and rethinking Europe. The book’s merits lie in both the analyses and ethnographic details of specific sites in which Europe is constructed, from port-authority surveillance to tourism and institutionalized cities of culture, and in its critical appropriation of noted studies in the fields of cultural studies and migration studies, theories of travel, and the philosophy of belonging.” — Iain Chambers, author of Mediterranean Crossings: The Politics of an Interrupted Modernity

Tracking Europe is an important book, very relevant to current world affairs. Ginette Verstraete transposes political and economic issues into a critical space of engagement with culture and the arts in a theoretically innovative and lively manner.” — Caren Kaplan, author of Questions of Travel: Postmodern Discourses of Displacement


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Ginette Verstraete is Professor and Chair of Comparative Arts and Media at Vrije University Amsterdam. She is the author of Fragments of the Feminine Sublime in Friedrich Schlegel and James Joyce and an editor of Placing Mobility, Mobilizing Place: The Politics of Representation in a Globalized World.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction. Mobility, Technology, and the Politics of Location in Europe 1

1. Heading for Europe: The Global Itinerary of an Idea 19

2. A Grand Tour through European Tourism 41

3. Europe in an Age of Digital Cultural Capitals 61

4. High-Tech Security, Mobility, and Migration 87

5. Diasporas in the B-Zones: Artistic Counterterritories 111

Notes 155

Bibliography & Filmography 181

Index 195
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4579-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4563-3
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