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Hunter and prey: Patrolling Clandestine Migration in the Euro-African Borderlands
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Anthropology. London School Economics & Political Science Univeristy London.
2014 (English)In: Anthropological Quarterly, ISSN 0003-5491, E-ISSN 1534-1518, Vol. 87, no 1, 119-149 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the past decade, the European Union and its member states have invested heavily in a far-reaching, diffuse, and technologized border regime targeting the elusive figure of the clandestine or illegal African migrant. Taking the mismatch between these large investments and the statistically small number of overland irregular migrants as its starting point, this article explores the embodied effects of illegality engendered in the policing of the Euro-African borderlands. Based on fieldwork with West African police forces, aid organizations, and migrants, it focuses on the migration circuit between the Sahel and Spain, where a joint European response to irregular flows was first tried and tested under the umbrella of the EU border agency Frontex. By highlighting the means of detection used to apprehend illegal migrants - from bodily signs to presumed intentions to migrate - the article looks at how an increasingly reified and embodied modality of migrant illegality is produced on the circuit between West Africa and Europe's southern shores. This production of illegality crucially depends on the incentives offered to African forces for participating in European controls. Tensions among African officers over the unequal gains from such incentives and ambivalence over the rationale for controls, I argue, make the transnational policing of clandestine migration a fraught site of state investment and concern.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 87, no 1, 119-149 p.
Keyword [en]
Irregular migration, phenomenology of illegality, border policing, embodiment, West Africa, Spain
National Category
Social Anthropology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102065ISI: 000331413800005OAI: diva2:708734


Available from: 2014-03-28 Created: 2014-03-26 Last updated: 2014-03-28Bibliographically approved

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