The borders of Europe are erected and guarded through cultural practices as much as through border control and security technologies. Cultural Studies have been crucial in revealing how everyday, particularly media-oriented practices, make and unmake this ‘Fortress’. Yet, until now, the focus has been mostly on how migrants use or are represented through media discourses and technologies. This introduction essay argues that the signifier ‘Fortress Europe’—and its central premise of restraining mobility for some in order to enable freedom for others—also gains meaning in and through socio-cultural practices that we may not (as) immediately associate with the physical crossing of European borders. Particular practices that are discussed in this introduction and examined in the seven original articles of the special issue are: public opinion research, the public mobilization of emotions, negotiating identity in an ‘ancestral homeland’, the consumption of (sports) media, the production of a radio talk show and film archives, as well as the activist use of social media. Broadening scholarly attention to these kinds of sociocultural practices provides an important addition to understanding how power operates across social spheres and discursive orders. In addition, their identification also offers valuable opportunities to understand how and why some practices are particularly pertinent or effective in cementing or destabilizing Fortress Europe. This line of inquiry is visible throughout this special issue, despite the diversity of theoretical frameworks and empirical sites used in the contributing articles.