Migration Governance and Border Regimes

8 Jan 2024 to 19 Jan 2024

Course in the Module "Sociology of Public Law and Private Law" (3 ECTS)

Migration and border management are one of the fields where we are witnessing the most relevant transformations of governance and regulations criss-crossing lines between public and private law. The proliferation of borders, walls, and other control devices for the purpose of containment of international mobility is a characteristic of transformations. The sociology of law and other complementary disciplines such as criminology or anthropology are privileged lenses to observe this phenomenon. Thus, the purpose of this course is to introduce how relevant notions about migration management regimes emerge in front of the classic sociology of migration regulation studies.

For instance, immigration control  affects traditional institutions of criminal justice such as police, lawyers, prisons, courts…; but also there are new legal institutions that emerge such as neoliberal trade institutions, detention centres, hotspots, immigration police, Agencies such as Frontex or ICE, deeply impacted by lobbies and private companies. These institutional agencies often display their power using complex dispositives of “smart borders” (database analysis, satellite monitoring, night vision cameras, drones, artificial intelligence…) provided by private companies subject to obscure service contracts where transparency and public scrutiny is mostly absent.

While traditional approach towards border control has been the securitization in recent years humanitarism, understood as the presence of NGOs and human rights discourses in the field of control of human mobilities, is gaining the scene, contributing to the legitimization of contemporary measures. At the same time, criminalization policies not only focus on migrants and ethnic groups, but also on activists and solidarity networks who are the object of deterrence strategies at different levels and intensities.

The personal experience of crossing a border differs according to gender and race. Specifically, the selectivity of immigration controls means that deportation affects many more men than women from previously colonised countries. In this sense, from the moment in which we must consider this phenomenon as a transverse global phenomenon, we assume the premise that it affects all regions of the planet, and therefore, in this course the focus will also be placed on the particularities of Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, something that It will be of special interest to the diverse group of students of the IISL Master.

Research work  in these areas is evolving both in approach and methodologies. Whether it is a master's dissertation or a financed project, it must have a section in which the techniques for obtaining information adjusted to the intended objectives and hypotheses are described. And our proposal goes through the combination of both quantitative techniques (data collection (and its problems) of arrests, detentions, deportations, incarcerations…); as qualitative (interviews to migrants, police officers, smugglers, lawyers, judges, etc; ethnography in sites (borders, detention centres, police stations, Prisons, courts, squares/streets…); bureaucratic documents as legal artefacts).

Finally, once completed the research, one of the main challenges that the researcher faces is the dissemination of these results, either in high-impact academic journals or in alternative publications that, due to their activist component, leave the main multinationals but have important diffusion quotas and political and social incidence. Moreover, border and control research can give rise to Alternative research outputs: documentaries, photography exhibitions, theatre plays, etc.

  1. The changing forms of governance of migration in a globalised world
  2. Theoretical tools for approaching contemporary control of mobility and its regulation
  3. Transformations of the State and the return of the border(s)
  4. Deportation regimes and immigration detention
  5. Public and private actors in the securitization and the humanitarian management of migration. Smart borders and technology in mobility control
  6. The performativity of migration control: gender and race
  7. Citizenship beyond the nation state, activism or transforming borders from below
  8. Criminalization of solidarity
  9. Doing fieldwork about migration governance, borders and crimmigration
  10. Publishing research outputs