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

Tal Dingott Alkopher, Emmanuelle Blanc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-542
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of International Relations and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Macmillan Publishers Ltd.


  • Europe
  • immigration
  • schengen area
  • securitisation
  • security communities
  • security dilemma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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