Carceral economies of migration control
(2020) Progress in Human Geography
This article conceptualizes carceral economies of migration control. First, I argue that ‘privatization’ signals a reorganization of authority, rather than a relocation of ownership from public to private domains. Second, I argue for greater attention to the socio-technical practices of valuation specific to migration control through which commodification becomes possible. Third, this reorganization of authority has produced (1) status value, a form of value specific to immigration policing’s juridico-political position; and (2) valuation practices that translate, commensurate and circulate migrant life as a marketizable entity.
Kate Coddington, Deirdre Conlon and Lauren Martin
Destitution Economies: Circuits of Value in Asylum, Refugee, and Migration Control
(2020) Annals of the American Association of Geographers, (5)
In this article, we argue that destitution economies of migration control are specific circuits of exchange and value constituted by migration control practices that produce migrant and refugee destitution. Comparative analysis of three case studies, including border encampment in Thailand, deprivation in U.S. immigration detention centers, and deterrence through destitution in the United Kingdom, demonstrate that circuits of value depend on the detachment of workers from citizenship and simultaneously produce both migrant destitution and new forms of value production. Within destitution economies, migration and asylum’s particular juridico-political position as domestic, foreign, and securitized allows legal regimes to produce migrants and asylum seekers as distinct economic subjects: forsaken recipients of aid. Although they might also work for pay, we argue that destitute migrants and asylum seekers have value for others through the grinding labor of living in poverty. That is, in their categorization as migrants and asylum seekers, they occupy a particular position in relation to economic circuits. These economic circuits of migration control, in turn, rely on the destitution of mobile people. Our approach advances political geographies of migration, bordering, and exclusion as well as economic geographies of marketization and value, arguing that the predominance of political analysis and critique of immigration and asylum regimes obscures how those regimes produce circuits of value in and through law, state practices, and exclusion. Furthermore, law, state power, and forced mobility constitute circuits of value and marketization. Conceptualizing these migration control practices as destitution economies illuminates novel transformations of the political and economic geographies of migration, borders, and inequality. Key Words: borders, circuits, destitution, migration, poverty, value.
Excavating the genealogies of struggles and of the migrant mob
(2021) Dialogues in Human Geography
This paper presents the author’s response to comments given on the book Martina wrote titled The Making of Migration. She thanks her interlocutors Kate Coddington, Maribel Casas-Cortes, Anne McNevin and Stephan Scheel for their generous comments and for their attentive reading of The Making of Migration. Their critical insights and questions touch upon the main epistemic and political stakes that the book grapple with. Their suggestions, questions and remarks are an incitement to push forward some research pathways that The Making of Migration only partially addresses, and to open up new avenues. Maribel Casas-Cortes has nicely captured the main stake of the book speaking about the ‘amplification and problematizing of migration as a potential condition and struggle of and for anyone under any induced vulnerability’. She engages here with the comments that her interlocutors raised by focusing my response along three conceptual threads: choked subjects; genealogy of struggles; migrants’ irreducibility to population.
Glena Garelli and Martina Tazzioli
Migration and ‘pull factor’ traps
(2020) Migration Studies
This article engages with the centrality that the push–pull theory regained in the context of border deaths in the Mediterranean Sea and particularly as part of the debate against the criminalization of nongovernment organizations (NGOs’) rescue missions at sea. The article opens by illustrating the context in which the push–pull theory re-emerged—after having been part of migration studies’ history books for over a decade—as part of an effort to defend non-state actors engaged in rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea against an aggressive campaign of illegalilzation conducted by European states. We then take a step back to trace the history of the push–pull theory and its role as a foil for critical migration studies in the past 20 years. Building on this history, the article then turns to interrogating the epistemic and political outcomes that result from bringing evidence against the NGOs’ role as pull factors for migrants. The article closes by advocating for a transformative, rather than evidencing, role of critical knowledge in the current political context where migrants and actors who fight against border deaths are increasingly criminalized.
Aila Spathopoulou and Anna Carastathis
Hotspots of resistance in a bordered reality
(2020) Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, (6)
In this paper, we examine how bordered reality is being imposed and resisted in the context of where we are placed right now, ‘Greece’. Drawing on ethnographic research and discourse analysis, conducted in Lesvos, Samos, and Athens (from March to September 2016), we examine how resistance to a bordered reality took place, as islands in the north Aegean, as well as Greek and European territories, were being remapped according to the logic of the hotspot. We approach this process methodologically from the situated angle of the embodiment of resistance in the concrete experiences of people (including the researchers ourselves), whose narratives reveal the distracted spatial coordinates of the ‘hotspot regime’, which becomes a traveling control device. Rather than approaching the hotspots on the five Greek border islands as geographically fixed entities we introduce the concept of the mobile hotspot to show how the logic of the hotspot suffuses the uneven geographies of a bordered reality. We use the ferry as an illustrative tool with which to critically explore the density, tensions, and conflict-ridden nature of movements within, around, and against the hotspots.