In Service to Security: Constructing the Authority to Manage European Border Data Infrastructures

Eileen Murphy

Research output: Book/ReportPhD thesis

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Large-scale IT systems play a central role in the management of European borders. These systems not only support the management of mobility but also require management in and of themselves. Based on fieldwork carried out at the headquarters of the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (eu-LISA) this thesis identifies a logic of service as central to the management of European border data infrastructures.
Developed across three articles the thesis contributes to critical research on security. The first article contributes to research on the roles and relationships of new actors to the field of European (in)security. It theorises the role of eu-LISA as a guild of IT service management. This service role enables actors to take up a relationship to the field which is distinct from, yet in support of the work of professionals of (in)security, which I describe as delimiting security. The second article contributes to research on the (de)politicisation of security practices. I argue where issues of expertise are often characterised as depoliticising under a logic of security, under a logic of service they are routinely contested and debated, providing a space to engage with the politics of this work. The third article contributes to research on evolving competitions and stakes in the field of European (in)security. It identifies efforts to define the support needed to define threats and risks as an increasingly important stake in the field, which I describe as service capital. I define service capital in terms of the power that accrues from providing this support to others. Exploring service capital requires considering how actors make their work visible to one another, thus this article also contributes to research on the relationship between visibility, governance, and power.
In summation, the thesis offers an in-depth empirical account of the working practices of a key agency in the management of European borders, contributes to key debates in the critical security literature, and most significantly identifies service as a central line along which matters of (in)security are increasingly being constructed, contested, debated and defined.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
Number of pages183
ISBN (Print)9788775681532
ISBN (Electronic)9788775681549
Publication statusPublished - 2023
SeriesPhD Series

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