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9 - Control Infrastructures and Ignorance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 November 2023

Christina Boswell
University of Edinburgh
Emile Chabal
University of Edinburgh
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In our concluding chapter, we review the evolution of state infrastructures of control. Such infrastructures embody state beliefs about how best to steer migrants, and also provide maps with which states ‘see’ their unauthorised populations. We chart changes in infrastructures since the 1960s across three dimensions: styles, sites and temporalities of control. The analysis highlights the continued reliance on centralised command and control approaches in Germany, despite niggling concerns that they are not capturing the full picture. In France, patchy implementation of work and welfare restrictions, and a sharp left-right divide on the issue, has repeatedly led governments back to the tool of regularisation. In the UK, lack of internal control infrastructure has been compensated for by outsourcing to external organisations, meaning that migrants get ‘caught’ at later stages in their lives when they are most reliant on social and economic support. We explore the implications of these different infrastructures on state knowledge and ignorance.

States of Ignorance
Governing Irregular Migrants in Western Europe
, pp. 243 - 272
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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