Accepted Paper:

Border zones and alien detention in France  

Author:

Chowra Makaremi (CNRS)

Paper short abstract:

The will of states to control movement of people have created contested spaces of sovereignty at the borders, populated by a “floating population” of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants to be deported. The paper will focus on these practices of border detention, which involve national political devices for the administration of alien populations as well as security constructions around the notions of citizenship and frontier.

Paper long abstract:

Practices of border control in Western democracies have led the European Union in the past two decades to build its frontiers in terms of camps and to literally detain people within the borders. The will of states to control movement of people have thus created contested spaces of sovereignty at the borders, populated by a "floating population" of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants to be deported. The paper will focus on these extra-territorial zones of detention - the "waiting zones", which involve national political devices for the administration of alien populations as well as security constructions around the notions of citizenship and frontier. While dislocating the topology of the border, practices of border detention have emerged and solidified along two axes: firstly, technical adjustment in the law and the legalization of administrative practices; secondly, the management of alien populations within an hybrid confinement system co-administrated by the police, private companies and humanitarian care.

Facing the new modalities and changing spaces of movement, how do states work out their borders and 'thicken' them into spaces where people live, are confined, selected, displaced? What do these ambivalent processes of deprivation teach about evolving regimes of government in the liberal rule of law?

Analyses are based on a field study in the "waiting zone" of Charles de Gaulle airport (Paris), and interviews with detainees who were admitted on the territory after facing several attempts of deportation.

Panel W043
Alien confinement in Europe: field perspectives