Trapped in the lobby: Europe’s revolving doors and the Other as Xenos

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The figure of the Other stands prominently at the centre of debates concerning European social and political identity. Notwithstanding the centrality of such a notion, the figure of the Other appears as underdeveloped. Who is, theoretically speaking, the Other? And, what does the proposition tell us about the way in which Europe understands itself? This paper explores these questions by analysing problems in the legal framework of EU citizenship and immigration law as well as its national implementation. This legal framework is symptomatic of a profound malaise affecting Europe. Increasingly adopting a strategy based on the principle of “revolving doors” as a means of dealing with outsiders, Europe treats the Other as a “Xenos”, an alien form of life which is included yet distrusted, welcomed yet under threat of expulsion. This conception of the Other as Xenos reflects a solipsistic, static, and auto-referential idea of Europe, one that ultimately prevents the formation of a pluralistic and multifaceted European identity, and endangers the European ethical and political project as a whole.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-379
JournalEuropean Law Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • European Migration Law, EU citizenship, third-country national, the Other, alien, identity, Xenos.


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