Resisting Europe

Practices of Contestation in the Mediterranean Middle East
Edited by Raffaella A. Del Sarto and Simone Tholens


Resisting Europe conceptualizes the foreign policies of Europe—defined as the European Union and its member states—toward the states in its immediate southern “neighborhood” as semi-imperial attempts to turn these states into Europe’s southern buffer zone, or borderlands. In these hybrid spaces, different types of rules and practices coexist and overlap, and negotiations over meaning and implementation take place. This book examines the diverse modalities by which states in the Mediterranean Middle East and North Africa (MENA) reject, resist, challenge, modify, or entirely change European policies and preferences and provides rich empirical evidence of these contestation practices in the fields of migration and border control, banking and finance, democracy promotion, and telecommunications. It addresses the complex question of when and how MENA states capitalize on their leverage and interdependence in their relationships with Europe and contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of Europe–Middle East relations, while engaging with broader debates on power and interdependence, order, and contestation in international relations. While a contribution on the practices of resistance and contestation of MENA states vis-à-vis European policies and preferences in this geopolitically significant region was overdue, this volume leads the way for subsequent studies that seek to overcome the constraints of exceptionalism so characteristic of research of the Middle East, Europe/the European Union, and certainly of their relationship.
Raffaella A. Del Sarto is Associate Professor of Middle East Studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), SAIS Europe.

Simone Tholens is Lecturer in International Relations at Cardiff University and Co-Director of the Centre for Conflict, Security and Societies (CCSS).

Praise / Awards

  • “Broadens the realm of analysis from EU-Med relations to a broad range of interactions in the borderlands . . . This is an important contribution to the field of Euro-Mediterranean studies and European foreign policy.”
    —Pinar Bilgin, Bilkent University
  • “Resisting Europe provides a significant contribution to the ongoing debate about the role of the EU in the Mediterranean region. Del Sarto and Tholens have a solid theoretical approach brilliantly substantiated by the empirical chapters. A very well-constructed, consistent and well-argued volume.”
    —Rosita Di Peri, University of Turin
  • “A coherent collection of articles that argue persuasively for a new, more grounded and less Eurocentric way of assessing European–Middle Eastern relations.”
    —Sune Haugbølle, Roskilde University

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 232pp.
  • 1 chart, 2 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

Due to the current global health event, shipping of print books may be delayed. Actual status will show in the shopping cart.

  • Hardcover
  • 2020
  • Forthcoming
  • 978-0-472-13215-7

  • $75.00 U.S.

Related Products



  • Middle East; North Africa; Mediterranean; Europe; European Union; practices; contestation; interdependence; practice power; borderlands; European Neighborhood Policy; Europe as empire; agency; migration and border control; banking and finance; democracy promotion; Morocco; Tunisia; Egypt; Lebanon; Turkey; governance; resistance