Immigration detention, ambivalence and the colonial Other

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This chapter concentrates on immigration detention. It gives the vociferous and categorical nature of most contemporary political and public discourse on migration, to frame an account of immigration detention through the notion of ambivalence. The chapter demonstrates, many of those within detention centres, as well as individuals working in the immigration sector, seem unclear about the purpose of, nature of and justification for such places. Although the immigration detention system in the United Kingdom (UK) today owes a lot to the era of New Labour (1997-2010), its origins date to the passage of the Immigration Appeals Act 1969. Although the government presents Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) and border control more broadly as necessary for order and security in a world defined by mass mobility, individual testimonies from detainees and staff reveal a far messier reality. A psychoanalytically informed approach to ambivalence might focus on the cost to staff of admitting and denying the humanity of the detainees.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPunishing the Other
Subtitle of host publicationThe Social Production of Immorality Revisited
EditorsAnna Eriksson
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781138776944
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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