Peace talk: Living in Hostile Environments – Illegality Assemblages and Everyday Experiences of ‘Illegality’, 23 October 2019

Prof Nando Sigona (School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham) offers a useful framework for the development of comparative research on how ‘illegality’ is constructed.

Abstract: Undocumented migration is a global and yet elusive phenomenon. It is firmly placed at the top of the political agenda in many countries, including the UK and Japan, where it receives hostile media coverage and generates fierce debate. Huge resources are spent in ever-expanding border infrastructures and mass deportation programs, ‘hostile environments’ are created as deterrent for new comers and resident undocumented migrants. These draconian measures define the boundaries of possibility and the everyday spaces for those who don’t have or no longer have papers, but they reach further than that, affecting both documented migrants and citizens alike. Drawing on over ten years of research with undocumented youth, children and parents in the UK (and Europe), this paper offers a critical phenomenological perspective of the production of ‘illegality’ and how it shapes the lives of undocumented migrants in different localities. It develops the concept of ‘illegality assemblage’ to capture the interplay and interdependence of different factors, contexts and scales in defining the opportunity structures within which the lives of undocumented migrants unfold. This approach offers a useful framework for the development of comparative research on how ‘illegality’ is constructed, maintained and experienced in different contexts.

Date and time: Wednesday, 23 October 2019, 4.15 (tea) for 4.30 (talk)

Venue: Room L66 (Fielding Johnson, 2nd floor)

Speaker: Prof Nando Sigona (School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham)

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