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Hacking deportability: How migrants change migration controls

Conference contribution
Authors Anja K. Franck
Darshan Vigneswaran
Published in Internation Studies Association Annual Convention, 26-30 March, Toronto
Publication year 2019
Published at School of Global Studies, Peace and Development Research
School of Global Studies
Language en
Keywords Deporation, deportability, hacking, migrant agency, Malaysia, Thailand
Subject categories Peace and development research, Human Geography, International Migration and Ethnic Relations


How do migrants change the terms of legitimate movement? One of the primary goals of migrants is to secure the right to move and settle where they want to go. Migrants often lack the tools required to change the migration control policies and laws. However, this does not mean they inhabit an abject position in relation to the power of the state. Instead, migrants adopt a far more strategic orientation to state efforts to control migration - and specifically the practice of deportation. Drawing extensive ethnographic research on Myanmar migrants in Malaysia and Thailand, we demonstrate that migrants may make themselves deportable as and when such a condition suits their individual and collective purposes. Going further, in some cases migrants may utilize deportation processes in order to further their own migratory projects and in so doing transform the institutional frameworks that decide how and under what forms of movement are legitimate. Putting these points together, we argue that migrants commonly inhabit and repurpose - and therefore “hack” - deportability, confounding efforts to transform them into pliant objects of state power and marshalling the violent authority of the state towards ends it was never intended to serve.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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