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This workshop explores the production, circulation and exchange of emotions triggered by deportations and state-assisted return in the context of unequal power relations including administrations, concerned citizens, organized activists and people on the move.
In recent years, European states have increasingly taken to deportation and state-assisted "voluntary" return as means of migration control. Deportation is high-ranking on the political agenda and often publicly debated as an issue of protection from threat. Administrations frame the forced return of rejected asylum seekers and "illegal" migrants in judicial terms, as a matter of the rule of law. For those affected, deportation is in most cases an existential experience of brute coercion that shatters dreams and ambitions, producing anxieties and often despair and anger, but perhaps sometimes also hope for a new beginning. These emotional effects of deportation are not limited to the deportees themselves but affect also supporting volunteers in the country of deportation who see their often years long efforts of assistance ruined, as well as the deportees' social context in the country of return, where hopes and expectations are equally destroyed. Such emotions include moral sentiments (Fassin) of injustice and denied deservingness. Deportations thus trigger a political economy of emotions that are produced, circulated and exchanged in uneven networks spread out in time and space in a context of unequal power relations. Given migrants' general condition of deportability (De Genova), this affective economy of forced return exceeds actual cases of deportation. We invite papers that address the affective economy of deportation, analysing the production and circulation of emotions in the context of deportation and return in the countries of departure and arrival and in the spaces in between.