Navigating Schengen. Historical Challenges and Potentialities of the EU Free Movement of Persons, 1985-2015

NAVSCHEN will produce the first dedicated historical analysis of all worldwide available primary sources on the transnational roots, debates and conditions for the implementation of the European Union (EU)’s free movement of persons (FMP).

The project’s overall objective is to highlight: a) the value of critical historical analysis and b) the normative legacies on human mobility rights in the European integration process to address the current challenges of the EU’s FMP. This project aims to bridge this gap via the comparative analysis between the European Parliament (EP) and the European Commission (EC)’s role and impact on the changing modes of implementation of this Schengen Area ‘fourth freedom’.

These two cases will be explored as part of a larger study on belonging and displacement in a ‘Europe in the making’. The project’s timeline will examine human mobility rights in light of the historical analysis of the European integration process from 1985 (the inception of the Schengen Area) to 2015 (a key turning point dominated by the public and private perception management articulation of responses to the so-called ‘refugee crisis’).


Core questions

What are the evolving modes of exclusion in transnational mobility in Europe and beyond? How can historical critiques be relevant to today’s challenges to free movement of persons? What are the neglected solidarity and diversity dimensions of European integration? In this light, can we articulate responses to humanitarian dilemmas beyond security-centered conceptions of transnational mobility? And normatively, are narratives on ‘shared values’ in the EU and beyond, sufficient to mediate countervailing factors of exclusion?

The main consulted archives will comprise the Historical Archives of the EU (HAEU), the Historical Archives of the European Parliament (HAEP) and the ‘Barbara Sloan’ European Union Delegation Collection (BSEUDC), currently hosted at the University of Pittsburgh Archives.

Institutional Partners

During the first two years, the project will be based at the European Studies Center (ESC) – Jean Monnet EU Center of Excellence (JMEUCE) of the University of Pittsburgh. The outgoing phase advisor will be Prof. John Lyon, from the German Department at the University of Pittsburgh.

The project will then be consolidated at Ca’ Foscari’s Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage, relying upon Prof. Matteo Legrenzi

European Studies Center. 20 years EUCE - Global Europe
University of Pittsburgh