The Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU A New Panopticism

Bal Sokhi-Bulley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union (FRA) is the EU’s newest, and only, human rights institution. The FRA represents a new way of speaking about rights in the EU, using ‘governance’ language. It was not conceived as a traditional human rights monitoring body and the monitoring mission was actively abandoned in favour of an advisory one. This article examines how the FRA’s governance-related role actually reveals a type of monitoring best understood as ‘surveillance’ in a critical, Foucauldian sense. In exercising surveillance tactics, the FRA represents a model of panopticism which allows it to carry out a new form of government. This is an interesting observation not only because of the implications it has for an EU that is striving to move away from government towards governance, but also because it challenges the assumption of the FRA as a ‘beacon on fundamental rights’ and a model of apolitical progress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-706
JournalHuman Rights Law Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'The Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU A New Panopticism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this