ISSEI Conference in Zaragoza: "Aftershocks: Globalism and the Future of Democracy"

Updated: Mar 8, 2019

Conference thISSEI’s 16 The University of Zaragoza, Spain, 2-5 July 2019 Borders and Territories: Securing Democratic Society Chairs: Marc Schoonderbeek and Grazia Tona, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, The dramatic events of the past few decades—from the end of Soviet Communism and the fall of the Iron Curtain, to the al-Qaida terrorist attacks—along with the more recent redefinition of the boundaries of the European Union, have focused public attention on the question of borders, both visible and invisible. The growing demand to guarantee the security of spatial boundaries by implementing new technologies of surveillance has deeply altered the nature of the public space, challenging its democratic character through the generation of a sense of vulnerability and fear. Politically decided boundaries as well as the imposition of security measures on the urban environment have substantial spatial consequences. Yet despite this, a strictly spatial perspective—with greater emphasis on the role of architecture and urban planning in the organization of space—is still largely missing in security and border studies. More specifically, the application of spatial analysis would provide a clearer understanding of the active function of borders in the production of space. It would, moreover, clarify various practical implications such as the need to address the dilemma of security vs cross-border movement at different scales, from the urban locality of public spaces, to the regional scale of border construction. The investigation of the spatial aspects of borders policies, their security and surveillance, from the local to the cross-territorial scale, comprises three levels of analysis: (1) the spatial implementations of security discourses; (2) their influence on socio-spatial practices; and (3) the eye-level perception of the everyday spatial practices of citizens. This kind of analysis would verify how secure European spaces are at present and the social and political impacts of the security measures that have been implemented on democratic society. This approach would also examine and evaluate the ‘democratic costs’ of the normalization of the infiltration of exceptional and non-democratic measures in reshaping existing power relations and legitimacies. The aim of the multidisciplinary spatial approach to the study of ‘securing democratic society’, which draws on historical, typological, functional and political theories, is to build a system that can inform design processes in the construction of more democratic spaces. This interdisciplinary workshop thus invites papers on the relationship between security, boundaries, and the other in the urban space, or more generally on the relevance of spatial analysis for studying Democracy and Globalism in Europe and beyond. Please send abstracts (350-500 words long), by 31 March 2019, to Marc Schoonderbeek, at, and to Grazia Tona, at

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