Resisting Europe

Practices of Contestation in the Mediterranean Middle East
Edited by Raffaella A. Del Sarto and Simone Tholens
Examines the ways that MENA states reject, resist, challenge, modify, or entirely change European policies and preferences


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 Senior 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

Look Inside

Table of Contents

List of contributors
Preface and Acknowledgements
Resisting Europe: Practices of Contestation in the Mediterranean Middle East
Raffaella A. Del Sarto and Simone Tholens
Part I: Conceptualizing a Contested Relationship
Petits arrangements avec l’Empire: Reflections on Imperial Power at its Fringes
Magali Gravier
Creating Order in the MENA Neighborhood: The Enlargement of the European International Society and Its Contestation
Yannis Stivachtis
Part II: Contestation in Practice
Domesticating Egypt, Domesticated by Egypt? Cooperation and Contestation in EU-Promoted Banking Supervision Reform
Roberto Roccu
Leapfrogging the EU: Telecommunications Regulation in Morocco
Véronique Wavre and Tina Freyburg
The European Union and Turkey: Negotiating the Management of Europe’s Extended External Borders
Asli Okyay
Leverage and Contestation in Refugee Governance: Lebanon and Europe in the Context of Mass Displacement
Tamirace Fakhoury
Contesting Europe’s Policies of Migration Control: The Case of Morocco and Tunisia
Mohamed Limam and Raffaella A. Del Sarto
From “Imperial Overreach” to “Blowback”: The EU, the Mediterranean Borderlands and the Syrian Crisis 
Raymond Hinnebusch
The Power to Contest in Europe-Middle East Relations
Raffaella A. Del Sarto and Simone Tholens

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 246pp.
  • 1 chart, 2 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

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

Add to Cart
  • $75.00 U.S.

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  • 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