An ethnography of deportation from Britain

Hasselberg, Ines (2013) An ethnography of deportation from Britain. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

In the past decades, immigration policies have been refined to broaden eligibility to
deportation and allow easier removal of unwanted foreign nationals. Yet how people
respond to a given set of policies cannot be fully anticipated. Studying the ways people
interpret, understand and experience policies allows for a better understanding of how
they work in practice. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in London, this
thesis examines experiences of deportation and deportability of migrants convicted of a
criminal offence in the UK. It finds that migrants’ deportability is experienced in
relation to official bodies, such as the Home Office, the Asylum and Immigration
Tribunal, Immigration Removal Centres and Reporting Centres, and becomes embedded
in their daily lives, social relations and sense of self. The lived experience of
deportation policies emphasizes the material and human costs associated with
deportation and highlights its punitive and coercive effects. Deportability marks
migrants’ lives with chronic waiting and anxiety. As a result, migrants awaiting
deportation make use of four coping strategies: enduring uncertainty, absenting and
forming personal cues (Ågård & Harder 2007), and also re-imagining their futures. In
turn, migrants’ understandings of their own removal appear incompatible with open
political action and with the broader work of Anti-Deportation Campaign support
groups. Resistance is thus enacted as compliance with state controls (such as
surveillance and immobility), which are perceived as designed to make them fail,
rendering them ever more deportable. By enduring this power over them, migrants are
resisting their removal and fighting to stay. The thesis concludes that the interruption of
migrants’ existence in the UK is effected long before their actual removal from the
territory. It is a process developing from the embodiment of their deportability as their
present and future lives become suspended by the threat of expulsion from their
residence of choice

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA History of Great Britain
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology
H Social Sciences > HB Economic theory. Demography > HB0848 Demography. Population. Vital events
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2013 16:37
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2015 14:26
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/43788

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