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Neoliberalizing Border Management in Finland and Schengen



Abstract: This paper provides a critical examination of the development of border management in Finland and the Schengen Area, the point of departure being that contemporary performances of border enforcement and security cannot be understood as distinct from the process of neoliberalization. The particular case which is examined is that of the Finnish Border Guard (FBG) service. Border management in Finland provides an interesting case not only because Finland is responsible for controlling the Schengen, European Union–Russian border but also because since Finnish state reforms in the early 1990s, neoliberal rationales have increasingly provided the guidelines for how to calculate and optimize border security. This paper emphasizes that the rationales of border management should be made transparent and opened for public debate. The analysis is structured around the themes of internationalization, competitiveness, risk prevention and the functioning of society, all of which are regarded as the key rationales of neoliberalized border governance.