Controlling non-human mobilities: risk, logistics, and supply chain security in the European Union

Authors: Anna Casaglia*, University of Trento, Georgios Glouftsios, University of Trento
Topics: Political Geography
Keywords: Mobility, risk, logistics, supply chains, security
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 15
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper “stays with” one of the most prominent “troubles” (Haraway, 2016) that shapes the performativity of contemporary borders: the unresolved tension between (a) the neo-liberal imaginary of frictionless, more-than-human circulation, and (b) the security of transnational, networked supply chains that interconnect a multiplicity of sites where logistic capitalism materialises through the construction, packaging, storage and just-in-time distribution of commodities. This is a tension between market- and capital-centric demands for accelerated mobility of “stuff”, and the parallel introduction of security measures that risk obstructing and slowing-down the seamless operation of supply chains. Inspired by research at the intersection of critical security, border, and logistics studies (e.g. Chua et al., 2018; Cowen, 2014; Hönke & Cuesta-Fernandez, 2018), we seek to unearth the rationalities and techniques of power that lie at the heart of attempts to secure supply chains without hampering circulation in the European Union (EU). While a lot has been written about the ways that EU borders are controlled to address risks that are supposedly carried by people on the move, there is a lack of sustained, critical scholarly engagement with security measures aimed at controlling non-human mobilities. By analysing EU policies and security measures related to logistics and supply chain management – such as the Common Customs Risk Management System (CCRMS) – we aspire to contribute to a more complete understanding of mobility controls, the (in)securitised categories of subjects and objects that are treated as risky, as well as the socio-material ontology and spatiotemporal dispersion of borders.

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