The Contested Politics of Mobility: Borderzones and Irregularity, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Contested Politics of Mobility

Borderzones and Irregularity, 1st Edition

Edited by Vicki Squire


256 pages

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Irregular migration has emerged as an issue of intensive political debate and governmental practice over recent years.

Critically intervening in debates around the governing of irregular migration, The Contested Politics of Mobility explores the politics of mobility through what is defined as an ‘analytic of irregularity’. It brings together authors who address issues of mobility and irregularity from a range of distinct perspectives, to focus on the politics of control as well as the politics of migration. The volume develops an account of irregularity as a produced, ambivalent and contested socio-political condition, showing how this is activated through wide-ranging ‘borderzones’ that pull between migration and control. Covering cases from across contemporary North America and Europe and examining a range of control mechanisms, such as biometrics, deportation and workplace raiding, the volume refuses the term ‘illegal’ to describe movements of people across borders. In so doing, it highlights the complexity of relations between different regions and between a politics of migration and a politics control, and makes a timely intervention in the intersecting fields of critical citizenship, migration and security studies.

This book will be of interest to students and scholars of politics, international relations, sociology, migration and law.


This volume brings together a team of internationally renowned and promising new scholars around the construction of an innovative paradigm in political theory: that of "irregularity". Such an approach importantly emphasises both mobility and conflict, which allows for an understanding of the paradoxical associations of violence and creativity taking place across and around today's multiple borderzones. As such, the volume makes a critical intervention into debates regarding the emergent conditions of mobile citizenship.

Étienne Balibar, Université de Paris-Ouest Nanterre, France and University of California, Irvine, USA

This impressive collection traces salient public anxieties about migrant invasions and the elaborate technologies applied to monitor foreign bodies at borders across Europe and North America. … Irregular migration is ironically becoming the norm, and the authors of this collection theorize this phenomenon in new ways that relate to ontology, govermentality, and exception. Managing disparate streams of visitors – those invited and those not – requires a constantly evolving set of tools and techniques. Theoretically savvy, and politically innovative, this book brings together a stellar lineup of thinkers whose collective work on migration, borders, and responses to state policies is unparalleled.

Jennifer Hyndman, York University, Canada

Herself a leading scholar of citizenship, Squire has assembled a provocative collection on the question of irregular migration and the governance of borderzones. Bringing together North American and European scholarship, the authors analyze the politics of mobility across a number of different sites. These leading scholars bring a very productive variety of theoretical perspectives and empirical cases into tension to triangulate an important field of politics, analysis, and practice that will shape the field in years to come.

Mark B Salter, University of Ottawa, Canada

Table of Contents

1. The Contested Politics of Mobility: Politicising Mobility, Mobilising Politics Vicki Squire Part 1: Politicising Mobility 2. Politicising Mobility Vicki Squire 3. Freedom and speed in enlarged borderzones Didier Bigo 4. Rezoning the Global: Technological Zones, Technological Work, and the (Un-) Making of Biometric Borders William Walters 5. Borderzones of Enforcement: Criminalization, Workplace Raids, and Migrant Counterconducts Jonathan Xavier Inda 6. Alien Powers: Deportable Labour and the Spectacle of Security Nicholas De Genova Part 2: Mobilising Politics 7. Mobilising Politics Vicki Squire 8. The Gaze of Autonomy: Capitalism, Migration and Social Struggles Sandro Mezzadra translated by Rodrigo Nunes 9. Governing Borderzones of Mobility through E-borders: The Politics of Embodied Mobility Kim Rygiel 10. Legal Exclusion and Dislocated Subjectivities: The Deportation of Salvadoran Youth from the United States Susan Bibler Coutin 11. Forms of irregular citizenship Peter Nyers 12. Citizens despite borders: Challenges to the Territorial Order of Europe Enrica Rigo 13. Epilogue, The Movements of Politics: Logics, Subjects, Citizenships Engin Isin

About the Editor

Vicki Squire is RCUK research fellow at the Centre of Citizenship, Identities and Governance and the Department of Politics and International Studies, the Open University, UK. Her research focuses on issues of migration, citizenship and security. She is author of The Exclusionary Politics of Asylum (2009).

About the Series

Routledge Advances in International Relations and Global Politics

International relations is a rapidly changing area of research, reacting to and anticipating an ever more integrated and globalised world. This series aims to publish the best new work in the field of international relations, and of politics more generally. Books in the series challenge existing empirical and normative theories, and advance new paradigms as well as presenting significant new research.

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