Continuity and Durability of Violent Border Policies and Practices Directed at Undesirable Migrants in Britain and Australia: Some Reflections on the Past–present Continuum

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Abstract

Using an interdisciplinary approach of critical historical and border criminology, this paper sheds light on the continuity and durability of the violent gendered-racialised border regime impacting ‘undesirable migrants’. With a focus on Britain and Australia, this article argues that border policies and practices have been constructed and maintained since the nineteenth century to the present day (continuity) and able to withstand various pressures for change (durability). The importance of controlling and monitoring ‘un/desirability’ in this way must be understood in the socio-political and temporal context of twentieth-century nation-state design, which entrenches these border mechanisms within a ‘white patriarchal possession logic’, therefore ensuring their durability. The concept of ‘un/desirability’, as this article demonstrates, is an adaptable tool that enables transformative coloniality and is currently actualised through the narrative of a ‘humanitarian border’. This article achieves these aims by presenting multiple historical and contemporary examples. These cases, when read in isolation from each other, do not offer a comprehensive and longitudinal view of the border regime over time. However, when these examples are considered together, they provide evidence of the continuity and durability of the border.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-274
Number of pages35
JournalImmigrants and Minorities
Volume40
Issue number1-2
Early online date1 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • border criminology
  • Border policies and practices
  • continuity and durability
  • historical criminology
  • humanitarianism
  • transformative coloniality
  • un/desirability

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