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Time and the migrant other: European border controls and the temporal economics of illegality

Andersson, Ruben (2014) Time and the migrant other: European border controls and the temporal economics of illegality. American Anthropologist, 116 (4). pp. 795-809. ISSN 0002-7294

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Identification Number: 10.1111/aman.12148


The rich world’s borders increasingly seem like a battleground where a new kind of ‘threat’ is fought back – the so-called ‘illegal migrant’. At Europe’s southern frontiers, sea patrols, advanced surveillance machinery and fencing keep migrants out, much like at the US, Israeli or Australian borders. Such investments have created a dense web of controls that displaces the border both inward and outwards, into the borderlands beyond it. This article, building upon recent border studies and ethnographies of illegality, explores Europe’s migration controls by focusing on their temporal aspects. In the borderlands, it shows, irregular migrants are not only subjected to extended periods of waiting, as migrants often are; they also face an active usurpation of time by state authorities through serial expulsions and retentions. The ways in which migrants’ time is appropriated reveal a complex economics of illegality, complementing existing ‘biopolitical’ perspectives on Europe’s borders.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 John Wiley & Sons
Divisions: International Development
Conflict and Civil Society
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2014 16:19
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2024 18:33
Funders: AXA Research Fund

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