New deterrence scripts in Australia's rejuvenated offshore detention regime for asylum seekers

Sharon Pickering, Leanne Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


As the Global North experiences a real or manufactured crisis in asylum, deterrence has become the central plank in border control policies. Following a resurgence of boat arrivals and faced with serious overcrowding in detention centers and a spate of drownings, the Australian government returned to the use of offshore detention for asylum seekers. In this article, the official media releases of the major political parties from the period surrounding the reopening of detention facilities on Nauru and Papua New Guinea are subject to systematic discourse analysis. This reveals a range of deterrence scripts that we have labeled neoliberal deterrence , classical deterrence, and an ethic of care. The resuscitation of the deterrence script in this second incarnation of Australian offshore processing arguably reveals increasingly nuanced and combative elements. The article details how these scripts make an important contribution to global immigration governance, which is presently incapable of thinking beyond deterrence in its various forms. (c) 2014 American Bar Foundation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1006 - 1026
Number of pages21
JournalLaw and Social Inquiry-Journal of the American Bar Foundation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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