This research identifies two state-centric forces affecting the construction of the border, namely free trade and security. The contrasting and apparently contradictory management of the flow of goods and people is addressed through the lens of Ceuta’s border as a place – more than a line – that crystallizes economic and securitization tensions. A focus on actors, micro-dynamics of control and mobility, challenges the image of a Fortress Europe, where the international border ideally constitutes the impermeable membrane of the European Union, while allowing for commercial fluidity. Borders should be analyzed as dynamic spaces of interaction between multiple actors, which also portrays the complex and evolving relation between control and borders.

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