Performing the Union: the Prüm Decision and the European dream

Barbara Prainsack, Victor Toom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
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In 2005, seven European countries signed the so-called Prüm Treaty to increase transnational collaboration in combating international crime, terrorism and illegal immigration. Three years later, the Treaty was adopted into EU law. EU member countries are obliged to have systems in place to allow authorities of other member states access to nationally held data on DNA, fingerprints, and vehicles by August 2011. In this paper, we discuss the conditions of possibility for the Prüm network to emerge, and argue that rather than a linear story of technological and political convergence and harmonisation, the (hi)story of Prüm is heterogeneous and patchy. This is reflected also in the early stages of implementing the Prüm Decision which proves to be more difficult than it was hoped by the drivers of the Prüm process. In this sense, the Prüm network sits uncomfortably with success stories of forensic science (many of which served the goal of justifying the expansion of technological and surveillance systems). Instead of telling a story of heroic science, the story of Prüm articulates the European dream: One in which goods, services, and people live and travel freely and securely.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-79
JournalStudies in the History and Philosophy of Science C
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013


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