Although the Seville Fair is part of a lively tradition of popular festivals, it clearly distinguishes itself from others of its kind on account of its very exclusive nature. The festival is organised around casetas, small traditional-style fabric houses, the vast majority of which are private (only 1.7% of the 1,052 casetas are open to the public). Because it is a site of social exclusivity par excellence, a place for upholding family social capital (sometimes across several generations), the fair challenges the democratic society and triggers controversy and debate, especially when it comes to its management by the municipality. Its model of a sold-out party has also given birth to the phenomenon of a counter-feria, which developed during the moment of democratic transition around organisations of political opposition. Offering a history of the feria that splits up the group, that strips away its illusion and reinscribes it in the social and political trajectories of the individuals and groups that participate in it transforms this prominent object of local chronicles and tourist brochures into an object of social science that enables the examination of social and political networks.
The political determination of the Mediterranean border of the European Union seen from the perspective of the Southern European countries (Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta) illustrates the symbolic and political importance for these nations of maintaining control of the border. It has a significant impact on the types of controls that are enacted and the interplay between national and European decisions. Placing this question on the agenda brings to light a Mediterranean perspective regarding the exterior borders of the European Union that is largely determined by the conditions of integration of the different countries into the Schengen area. This new border regime is the result of complex political games and is seen as a security issue. The actual set of controls seems to be less planned and legal-rational than simply erratic and the result of tensions between internal tactics, nation state strategies and attempts at bringing within the ring of EU.