Where next for migration studies? Reflecting and rethinking

Bridget Anderson

The COMPAS Seminar Series last term asked team members to rethink the field of migration studies. This re-evaluation required them to consider lessons derived from their previous work, the contemporary politics of migration, and anticipate new challenges to old ways of thinking.

I was asked to close the series with my own reflections on the previous presentations, the field of study as well as suggesting some possible future directions. This blog is a written version of the talk I gave on 1st December 2016.

The start of 2017 is a good time to reflect on the tumultuous year that just passed. Immigration was central to both the Brexit debate and the Trump presidential campaign. Migrants and refugees are signalled as a problem in urgent need of a solution: “Conjurers call it misdirection, encouraging an audience to look over there when the sleight of hand is taking place over here”. This is puts me and, I suspect, many other migration scholars, in a curious situation: most academics love it when people want to discuss their area of study, but I am worried about becoming the magician’s assistant.

Here I will consider the role of the academic and the political landscape, challenges for the study of migration and some thoughts on ways forward.

The political landscape

So what is happening? I know as little as most people, and less than many. But some of it is, call me old fashioned, to do with economics. The Trump/Clinton result has been represented as emanating from the erosion of privilege that was regarded as ‘natural’ for white men, the rearing up of misogyny and racism that was long lurking in certain elements of the population – in which case why should post-colonial and feminist scholars be surprised? Have we not been saying this for a long time?

However, we need to put it in context and also to consider the impact of the slow withdrawing of the privilege of the Global North more generally. At COMPAS we have done a lot of work about the contemporary reliance of NHS and social care on migration, but it is also worth putting this in an historical context. Richard Drayton, Rhodes Professor of Imperial History at Kings College London writes:  “When in about 1950 British democracy created a welfare state at home, it too depended on invisible donations from tea-pickers in Ceylon, rubber-tappers in Malaya, goldminers in South Africa, copper-miners in Rhodesia, the oil of Iraq and especially Iran” (Drayton 2012: 162). The establishment of the national welfare state depended on the profit derived from workers abroad (which suggests we must think twice before complaining about non-citizens taking advantage of the National Health Service). ‘Our’ welfare state has always depended on ‘their’ labour.

The reliance of European standards of living on the exploitation of labour in the Global South is not only historical. There has in recent years been a massive shift in production from North to South. John Smith has argued that outsourcing has been a powerful means of wage repression and profiteering. He demonstrated that developing countries’ share of global manufactured exports rose from around 5% in the 1950s to 30% by the year 2000, to currently some 60%. The proportion of the industrial workforce living in less developed regions was 79% in 2010, up from 34% in 1950 (Smith 2015). 83% of the world’s manufacturing workers live in the global south. Wages in many of these regions, he argues, are forced below the value of labour power I appreciate that there are problems with taxonomies of North and South, and China is key to this data, but for most people in the world, where you are born accounts for your share of global wealth. And goods are affordable for impoverished workers (and non-workers) in the Global North because of a system of resource extraction, outsourcing and arms-length super exploitation in the Global South. Minimum wage earners in the UK are in the global top 12% of income earners. I am one of the 1%. I earn more than $32,500 or approx. 30,000 euros. This translates into purchasing power with clout because of low wages for producers.

Yet for many reasons – including China – this privilege is under pressure. It was not only the left behind that are crushed by shifting powers as Nick has talked about this in his seminar. To which I would add that those who want no part of a globalised world are nevertheless part of one – where do the oil from our plastics, the cotton from our clothes come from? Trump and UKIP were nurtured and voted for not only by the left behind in the context of an erosion of living standards, growth of insecurity.

We are at the heart of a crumbling empire. No wonder it feels alarming. And maybe nobody properly believes in it yet. David Runciman in London Review of Books wrote an essay on voting for Trump in which he argued that it was in part bolstered by a trust in liberal institutions, even if the liberal institutions were not working for the so-called ‘left behind’.

It would be a big mistake to think that he won because people believed him. Had they believed him they would hardly have voted for him: putting a man like Trump in charge really would spell the end for American democracy, because it would have left him free to do his worst. People voted for him because they didn’t believe him. They wanted change but they also had confidence in the basic durability and decency of America’s political institutions to protect them from the worst effects of that change. They wanted Trump to shake up a system that they also expected to shield them from the recklessness of a man like Trump.

I think that Ghassan Hage’s book ‘White Nation’ (2000) speaks to this moment, even though it was written more than fifteen years ago. He opens with a preface entitled ‘My Granny is Seizing Power’. His Granny used to complain that he was reading too much, and that ‘You have read books but life has taught me’. Or, as another famous person put it ‘The so-called ‘intelligentsia’ always looks down with a really limitless condescension on anyone who has not had… the necessary knowledge pumped into him’. This was not from Farage or Trump or Ghassan’s granny but Adolf Hitler. ‘But Granny, I have a life as well you know, and it teaches me, too. Can’t you see that books and research provide me with extra knowledge?’

This is nicely illustrated in Jonathan Portes’ contribution to the COMPAS Anthology of Migration when he writes about the pret-a-manger question, and why it is that when people point to their personal experience in losing out on a job in pret a manger because that job was taken about a migrant, they are wrong. It is not that anecdotal evidence is irrelevant or invalid, and it can be very useful, but that for many questions, it does not know its partiality. Knowledge, Hage argues, is hard labour.

But perhaps so too is ignorance. Agnotology the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt – Dace in her second week seminar talked about Adam Curtis, and similar arguments were made by Dunning looked at the internet as helping to propagate ignorance – everyone becomes their own expert making them prey to powerful forces that wish to propagate ignorance – climate change, the relation between tobacco and cancer. Agnotology eliminates the potential for dissent. Wilful spread of confusion and deceit can be used to sell a product, but also a politics. So it’s not just life that teaches Ghassan Hage’s Granny, but the internet. The reason I say that ignorance is hard labour is because it seems to be what Gilroy (https://www.bl.uk/eccles/pdf/baas2013.pdf) describes as a patterned ignorance. It is a political agnotology that calls out the politics of liberal epistemology. That our ways of knowing the world are not innocent of politics or normativity and never can be – which is I guess that the discussion following Sarah’s paper in week 6 was grappling with. There has, rightly, been talk about the problem of meeting emotion with fact. But perhaps what is partly being called out is that fact and emotion are not so easily distinguishable, as we as academics should know. People do not just experience emotions for no reason, the question is the connection between them; and conversely, that the fact/value distinction, between what is truth and what is right, is not an easy line to draw. I’m not saying that there are not times when it is important to try to draw it, but we must be cognisant of it.

So if this is part of the political landscape that we are facing, what does this mean for the study of migration? In many ways it throws into relief longstanding challenges about the purpose and the subject of our enquiry. I want to discuss this, give an example (pre Trump and Brexit) and think about the role of the university in all of this.

Who is the subject of our enquiry and why do we study them? Who counts as a migrant? The magician’s assistant.

Who counts as a migrant? A person may be ‘foreign born’ and nevertheless be a British citizen by naturalization, or be a British citizen born abroad. Prince Philip is ‘foreign born’ but rarely is he considered a ‘migrant’. The net migration policy itself does not use ‘foreign born’ as a definition of migrant, but the UN definition of Long Term International Migrant. Not all of those who are counted as ‘migrants’ in the net migration policy can have their mobility controlled through immigration policy: UK citizens, long term residents, EU nationals and asylum seekers are not subject to the levers of immigration controls. The question of who counts as a migrant has been very hot when it comes to EU citizens and there have been longstanding objections to defining EU mobility as an immigration issue at all. When Austria, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands wrote in a joint letter to the Irish presidency and the Commission, to complain that “certain immigrants from other member states […] avail themselves of the opportunities that freedom of movement provides, without, however, fulfilling the requirements for exercising this right” the then Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström’s response strongly objected to their use of the word ‘immigrant’. “EU citizens who have the right to travel, live, work and study where ever they want in the Union are put on a par with immigrants from countries outside the EU. For instance, they are being called EU immigrants, a concept that does not exist”. Viviane Reding, then Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship supported this stance: “Let language not betray us: European citizens exercising their right to free movement are not ‘immigrants’. All European citizens have the same rights.” (Cited in Hansen 2015)

Why this concern? It is important to remember that the EU citizen has a twin sister, the ‘third country national’ (TCN), both were born at the same time, and even as we celebrate the EU citizen we must acknowledge the TCN. It is the TCN who migrants. Because the term ‘Migration’ signifies problematic mobility. People have always moved, and human movement is only contingently constituted as an object of investigation and a problem for policy. Not all mobility is subject to scrutiny, but ‘migration’ already signals the need for control and in public discourse is often raced and classed (Anderson 2015). Bacchi (2009) has argued that social policies do not simply respond to an already existing problem, but are often critical to the production of the phenomenon as a ‘problem’ in the first place. And so, too is research.

Ian Hacking has written about the human sciences ‘making up people’ and the ways in which classifications don’t just group particular people as objects of scientific inquiry (sometimes to control, sometimes to help, sometimes to protect – and migrants are all of these), but also our investigations interact with them and change them. The first step in making up people is counting them, taking certain characteristics as relevant to membership in a group. He is interested in medicalising and geneticising, and less interested in the role of the state – bureaucratising is a means of administering people who are already made up. But role of state very important and the law lends consequence to elements of personhood – race, sex, age ability, religion marital status etc., which also of course have social and cultural meaning. The state invests elements of identity with legal consequences of inclusion and privilege or exclusion and subordination. The inclusion and privilege of some is defined by and depends on the exclusion and subordination of others.

So in the case of migration, laws and policies do not only ‘manage migration’ but, are critical to the production of social and employment relations. For example, in most countries the majority of non-citizens who are admitted to work have their access to the labour market limited in some way. Those entering as economic migrants can work for a recognized sponsor only, and are effectively on fixed term contracts that may be terminated at the employer’s discretion. Similarly, those who enter as partners and spouses may be dependent on their spouse or partner for their continued residence. The naming is bound up with immigration controls are not simply taps that attempt (successfully or not) to control the flows of entry of non-citizens, but they are moulds, that shape social relations. In this way, workers or partners who are subject to immigration controls may be more desirable to employers and partners than those who are not. Far from protecting citizen low waged labour, in certain sectors immigration requirements can actually create employment relations that make migrant workers preferable to citizen workers.

Yet importantly, it isn’t only the law that makes migrants. Only certain people count as migrants for the purpose of public debates. We can see this when people are appalled that white Canadian families can be split up by immigration controls – it isn’t supposed to be like that. But also, to be frank, that they are collateral damage: in the research paper that accompanied the 2011 Family Migration Consultation, the Home Office distinguished between sponsors who were British citizens from birth and those who were not. It was those who were naturalized citizens (predominantly from South Asia) who were the key target of the law. This kind of thing has a history… raceless policies whose unfortunate outcome can sometimes look as if it is the consequence of individual racist officials.

Thus there is an endless bumping up of the ‘made up person’ – the migrant, with another, the negatively racialized, that keeps coming into view in politics and in academic work. In public discourse there is some recognition of a potential relation between hostility to migration, xenophobia and racism – even if this is expressed in the denial of an actual relation. This is reflected in the competing claims that immigration policies are necessary to forestall racism, or that they are irrelevant to issues of race, or that they are inherently racist. A key aspect of being a ‘migrant’ is to be marked by one’s body, one’s way of being in the world. Yet early attempts to integrate the study of migration and race (Rex 1970 cited in Solomos) have in the past twenty years given way to increasingly differentiated subfields (Solomos 2014) and in academic research the migrant as racialized other, and what this means for ideas of the constitution of the racialized other has tended to either be assumed or ignored.

This is important in a context in which the migration ‘problem’ is no longer identified as migrants from the Global South but those from ‘eastern Europe’. Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP and one of the key ‘vote leave’ voices, claimed that leaving the EU would mean ‘more black people would qualify to come in’(Daily Mail, 08.06.16) Writing in the Daily Telegraph (03.03.15) he explained ‘UKIP wants to ensure that highly skilled people from the Commonwealth – from India, Canada, New Zealand and beyond[1] – get a fair chance to get into Britain, unlike now, where we give precedence, via our open border with the European Union, to half a billion people from Europe and its former Communist countries’ (Farage 2015). This is an effective appeal to Empire over Europe, and, via ‘highly skilled’ and through the inclusion of India, class over race. It builds on a longstanding argument: it is not racist to be concerned about immigration because migrants are from Eastern Europe, migrants are white, Black British people don’t like Eastern Europeans, and Black people are not racist – but also Eastern Europeans are racist. The figure of the migrant places a complex and often contradictory role in racialisation processes: simultaneously evidence of tolerance and threatening tolerance, a new political subject and a threat to the polis, shaping ideas of shared identity by incorporation and rejection, but inevitably raising the question – as I’m going to discuss of incorporation/rejection into/from what?

We can learn something from history on the regulation and management of heterogeneity, and its relation to the fixing of racial/ethnic identities. Scholars have documented often in meticulous detail the efforts made to classify natives, place them in hierarchies, differentiate them by culture race, personality and intelligence, and class them as indigenous, tribal and urban.

And not only colonised natives – Henry Mayhew’s London labour and the London Poor http://www.victorianlondon.org/mayhew/mayhew-street-characters.htm

Of the thousand millions of human beings that are said to constitute the population of the entire globe, there are — socially, morally, and perhaps even physically considered — but two distinct and broadly marked races, viz., the wanderers and the settlers — the vagabond and the citizen — the nomadic and the civilized tribes. The nomadic or vagrant class have all a universal type, whether they be the Bushmen of Africa or the “tramps” of our own country.

The fixing of race and ethnicity was and continues to be related to control of mobility, and to ideas of disposition, culture and habits. I’ve quoted it at length, because while it is old fashioned I think it reminds us of the danger of ‘civilizing missions’. We have to argue against Hitler and Ghassan’s granny without becoming missionaries.

Disposition, culture and habits speak to the idea of the nation which clearly has a political relevance, but also is relevant to our subject. In their famous paper on methodological nationalism, foregrounding the assumption that the nation state society is the natural social and political form of the modern world, Wimmer and Glick Schiller (2002) found parallels between nationalist thinking and the conceptualization of migration in social sciences. Nation is not the same as state of course.

While there has been considerable academic critique of the analytic utility of concepts like ‘the state’ and ‘the market’ which comprise the traditional tools of liberal politics and sociology as well as significant shifts in ways of thinking about power, nevertheless the state/government continues to be the frame through which public discourse understands the distribution and accountability of political and economic power. It is a frame that is proving increasingly shaky. Borders have fallen, shifted, and proved vulnerable (Brown 2010) while global capital, finance and new technology are proving highly resistant to state regulation. This is exacerbated by a crisis in representation, as political elites are felt to be ever more removed from the lives of the majority of the population. These crises are intertwined, and for some the European Union has become representative of both. This is the context of increasing popular demands to ‘do something’ about immigration. Promises of strong control over immigration appeal to the hope of a national labour market and economy, a stable cohesive national society and representative democratic politics. The migrant exemplifies the fluidity of the relations between nation, people, and state. Their presence becomes emblematic both of waning state power, in hock to business, human rights and European interests, and of mainstream politicians’ disengagement with everyday problems.

This was one of the factors influencing the pro-Brexit vote as multiple political anxieties coalesced around migration. That is, this should not be analysed simply as a policy failure that permitted ‘too many’ migrants to enter the UK, but the consequence of multiple policies that disenfranchised and impoverished millions of people on the one hand, and years of setting up ‘migrants’ as the reason for lack of jobs, low wages, poor public services and so on. This unleashes powerful politics on the street and in the ballot box. It was not the migration policy failure that lay behind Brexit, but the long term political success of scapegoating migrants.

When it is separated, the state a neutral playing ground for different interests, but it is bound up with the nation. If something is in the state interest, it is legitimate to contest whether ‘we’ have an interest in it. If it is in the ‘national ‘interest then of course it is in our interest

Why nations matter so much now I think is because of the question, who constitutes the people, and who speaks for the people. I think this this uncertainty has underpinned some of the concerns of current politics. Are the MPs representing all their constituents, all the people that voted for them, the ‘working class’? Are they elected to struggle for their concerns, or to be the voice of the majority of their constituents, or their local party? This isn’t just a technical matter. UKIP, leave campaigners and Trump claim the mantle of the silent majority, they speak in the name of the ‘real’ people – counterposed to the metropolitan elite or the intelligentsia. Farage announced that the referendum result was a victory for the real people – as if all the people that voted against were not real people, or not THE people that constitutes the nation. There are some big and ancient questions here about the demos and the polis, the rural and the urban, the resident and the citizen, that stretch beyond migration, but that looking at migration broadly understood can throw interesting light on.

Ways forward

Societies and economies are always in motion. One of the things I liked about Carlos’ approach in week seven was its transparency about assumptions because it seems to me that this is often a way of fixing it, of at least acknowledging that we are going to pretend that it is not always in motion. I think it is worth properly engaging with the mobilities paradigm. I can’t say I’ve done this properly yet, but the reasons that I’m promoting it are…

  • Movement matters, without fetishising the migrant. We all move, relation between immobility and mobilities
  • Corporeality of migration (mass movement) and the materiality of mobility
  • Interdisciplinarity and its embracing of the political
  • Sensitivity to scale
  • Mobility as having a socially constitutive power – a different way of thinking about migration that I think Sarah Spencer was getting at in week six….
  • BUT Migration does – or should – foreground the state, and the political imagination in a way that ‘mobility’ eschews. It is a constant reminder that the space of flows is constantly barricaded, constrained and interrupted for most people in the world, even when they are desperate to move. That, for some people, mobility is turned into migration.

Also we might consider Urry’s ‘sociology beyond societies’ (1999). This is demanding – how do we bound our subject: if we are interested in mobility and immobility, in Sarah’s definition of integration processes of interaction, personal and social change among individuals and institutions across structural, social, cultural and civic domains and in relation to identity; processes which are multi-directional and have spatial and temporal dimensions.

However, the key strength of the mobilities paradigm tells us we must make connections between mobilities (i.e. Niger, electricity, migration, colonialism). Anti-migrant politics disavow these connections, seeing only foreigners in search of the good life and jobs.

So concretely, how to do this?

The critical study of the social has a complex relation with both policy and politics. The identification of a population and associated problems draws even those researchers who strive for analytical objectivity into participation in politics and governance (Bacchi 2009). This is particularly challenging for fields such as migration studies which are disproportionately shaped by policy agendas. To develop the potential of migration scholarship requires us to move beyond empirical (and occasionally empiricist) inflections and situate social scientific investigations within a continuous reflection on how and why is migration made an object of discourse and policy, and what kind of knowledge is produced as migration is rationalized, analysed and classified.

Research is implicated in the production of migration, and we too are part of the migration industry which is not to say that we should not research migration, but that we have to acknowledge our role and take responsibility for it and make connections – placing migration within a broader landscape. Furthermore, in a situation where the government will be creating new forms of subject – EU citizens turned into ‘migrants’ rather than ‘mobile citizens’ for example – we are going to have to engage with data-gathering and immigration policy with care.

Using migration as a lens (this is what the right are doing – in part) and looking at how the instability of the migrant exposes the instability of citizenship itself and of who constitutes the people. A former student of mine did her dissertation last year on social housing allocation policies, and the ways in which citizens can be transformed into migrants. Brexit is a laboratory for a new form of citizenship stripping, but it is also in the broader context that I started with here.

Taking up what I think Dace touched on in her presentation in week two, I think we need to think about new forms of knowledge production, and analysis: transcending disciplinary boundaries, troubling the category of the migrant, engaging practitioners with theory, moving beyond migration and looking at mobility control of citizens. But also the boundary that surrounds academia.

Last week we had an event bringing together practitioners and academics as part of our IAA project. We asked about framing the refugee question. Phil Cole responded that what we need to do is to flip this perspective around and see the refugee as the active subject of the Refugee Question – that is both asking it and actively seeking an answer to it – and that the citizen of the nation-state be constructed as the problem, a problem that needs to be solved in the interests of the refugee. He said that it is the rights of those who are already safe that are placing obstacles in the way of those struggling to escape danger.

the discourse does not just have a topology – an inside of political order and an outside of political disorder which the refugee brings with them – but also a topography, a geographical shape. Looking at political theory again, the fact is that not only has theory been ‘insider’ theory, theorising from inside the nation-state, it also theorises from inside a particular kind of nation-state in a particular location – liberal democratic states in the Global North. It structures a perspective on migration and membership centred on the interests of citizens of Global North liberal democracies. And so typically political theory structures its discussions of migration around a specific set of anxieties concerning the fate of liberal political culture”.

Where I would depart from Phil’s take is that migration has promoted a sort of fantasy citizenship, an idea that legal citizenship equates to full inclusion. Yet citizenship as legal status does not grant full social inclusion. Citizens are directly affected when their loved ones are taken from them, detained and deported by immigration powers, or when they are not allowed to join them in the first place. For decades it has been very difficult for people on benefit to be joined by their partners and children under the ‘no recourse to public funds’ requirement. The reach of this injustice has expanded. UK nationals who do not earn a minimum of £18,600 are not eligible to sponsor a partner or spouse for entry and must earn even more if they want to sponsor dependent children. Notably £18,600 is substantially more than the national minimum wage (about £13,500). Of all British national employees, an estimated 43 per cent do not earn enough qualify as a sponsor. The threshold has a significantly greater impact on women: 28 per cent of British male employees do not earn enough to sponsor a partner, but 57 per cent of British female employees do not qualify. Seventy two per cent of these women do not earn enough to sponsor a partner and two children. Research by Eleonore Kofman and Helena Wray (Ref) at Middlesex University estimates that 15,000 children have been affected by this legislation and found that the gender and ethnic pay gap means that women and BME groups are particularly badly affected. To put it at its most crude, low waged citizens find it much harder to exercise a right to family life than higher waged.

This is an example of how immigration and naturalisation laws can turn attention well away from the gendered, classed and racialized borders within formal citizenship, depicting all citizens as fully and equally included, even as immigration enforcement helps to create differentiated citizenship, by bearing down disproportionately on those who don’t have money and negatively racialised. The promotion of fantasy citizenship overlooks the multiple exclusions within formal citizenship and the possible connections between these and the exclusions generated by migration. Fantasy citizenship makes migrants exceptions and discourages a politics and an analysis that finds commonalities between migrants and differentiated citizens, even as it makes this analysis more urgent. Fantasy citizenship reifies an axis of difference, implicates citizens in the making of that difference, promises to protect citizens from that difference, as if that difference were the only one that matters, as if this is enough and everyone should be grateful for it.

In fact when we look a little closer at some of the rights of citizens it seems that their value largely arises from the contrast with migrants or those that do not have the rights, rather than having a value in themselves. Take the idea of the ‘right to rent’. The ‘right to work’ is similarly a commonplace of immigration policy. The right to work is first and foremost the right of the citizen. However, as with the right to rent, citizens do not generally imagine themselves as availing themselves of the right to work when they go out in the morning, rather they are simply working. It is only when contrasted with non-citizens that this becomes having the right to work. It is because non-citizens don’t have it that citizens have it. But the right to work is not just an empty phrase, it marks the national labour market may be marked as a space of privilege for citizens where jobs are preserved for them. However it is also a disciplinary area within which they may be compelled to take up work. Conditions imposed on ‘work seekers’ include mandatory participation in employment-related programmes, job search interviews, and unpaid work placements. Those who do not fulfil these requirements, who are late or do not attend interviews, are sanctioned and their benefits can be cut or withheld completely for a period of time. In evidence submitted to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee inquiry into benefit sanctions policy, David Webster found that the total of JSA and ESA sanctions before reconsiderations/appeals in the year to June 2014 was an estimated 1,030,000. Webster described the system as:

a secret penal system because the decisions are made in secret by officials; the claimant is not present; they are not legally represented; the punishment is applied before there is any hearing; if they get a hearing it is only long after the punishment has been applied…. You are talking unmistakably about a penal system which has a set of characteristics which I would suggest are totally unacceptable in a democratic society”.

For someone who works on immigration this is eerily familiar territory. This is the generous welfare regime that it is alleged attracts so many non-citizens to the UK and that followers of T.H. Marshall (1950) analyse as the culmination of social citizenship.

Challenging the model of the worker citizen begins to erode the distinction between the migrant and the citizen. Sometimes being a ‘migrant’ is a red herring. But this should not detract from the important task of repoliticising mobility. We do need to think about the mobility and presence of those with the legal status of citizens as well as the ‘migrant’. This can be connected to the ways in which citizens too can be moved on, forced to move, and denied the right to be present. For example Public Space Protection Orders allow police and council officials, including private security contractors with delegated enforcement powers, to request people to stop ‘anti-social activities’ that are ‘likely to have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality’. These kinds of activities include rough sleeping and begging, entering particular spaces if you are under 21 and so on. A citizen may have a right to be present on the territory of the UK, but that does not give them the right to be in any public space. Removals for vagrancy and begging are falling particularly hard on EU citizens – over 2,000 have been removed in the past year because they are not workers or self-sufficient people, but prosecutions under the 1824 Vagrancy Act are on the rise, and PSPOs are placing considerable powers in the hands of ever more actors.

What is bad for migrants is not necessarily good for citizens, and regulations that work to marginalise and exclude migrants, do not necessarily centralise and include citizens.


Anderson, B. and Hughes, V. (eds.) (2015) Citizenship and its Others, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Bacchi, C.L. (2009) Analysing Policy: What’s the Problem Represented to Be? Pearson

Brown, W.  (2010) Walled States Waning Sovereignty MIT Press

E Kofman, E Howard, E Vacchelli, HE Wray (2010) The impact of gendered and racialised identities on the experience of discrimination. EU Seventh Framework Program Grant No. 217237

Hage, G (2000) White Nation: fantasies of White supremacy in a multicultural society, New York: Routledge

Marshall, T. H. (1950). Citizenship and social class and other essays. Cambridge: CUP.

Smith (2015) Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and the crisis of Capitalism, Monthly Review Press, U.S.

Urry (1999) Sociology Beyond Societies: Mobilities for the Twenty-First Century, International Library of Sociology

Wimmer, A. and Glick Schiller, N. (2002), ‘Methodological nationalism and beyond: nation–state building, migration and the social sciences’. Global Networks, 2: 301–334

[1] This prompts the question: what is ‘beyond’ New Zealand’ if one’s starting point is the UK?