Border Criminologies: The first ten years

Event date
11 - 12 September
Event time
09:00 - 15:00
Oxford week
MT -3
Bonavero Institute of Human Rights

About this event

To celebrate 10 years of Border Criminologies, we invited speakers from all over the world to present their research in a 2-day workshop in the Bonavero Institute for Human rights from the 11th to 12th of September. You will hear about a variety of topics, such as incarceration, policing and law.

We are very excited about this event and look forward to seeing you there in September!

Lunch will be provided on both days.


Monday September 11th 

Welcome, Mary Bosworth, 9:00 - 9:15 

Historical and Theoretical foundation, 9:15  - 11:00 

1. Katja Franko, (University of Oslo): ‘The politics of Border Control.’ 2. Alpa Parmar, (University of Warwick): ‘Race and Borders.’ 3. Ana Aliverti, (University of Warwick): ‘Colonial and Southern perspectives.’ 4. Jose Brandariz, (University of A Coruna): ‘Comparative Borders.’

Law Part I, 11:00 - 12:45 

5. Lucia Zedner, (All Souls College, University of Oxford): ‘Citizenship deprivation.’ 6. Jennifer Chacon, (Stanford University, USA): ‘Crimmigration.’ 7. Diego Caballero Vélez (University of Warsaw, Poland), and Maggy Lee, (Hong Kong University): ‘Border externalisation politics in Poland and Belarus.’ 8. Paresh Hate, (Jawaharal Nehru University, India):‘The Bangladeshi ‘Infiltrator’ in the Courtroom.’

Lunch - 12:45-13:45

Policing, 13:45-15:15

9. Sanja Milivojevic, (University of Bristol, UK), and Samuel Singler (University of Oxford): ‘Policing, surveillance, and big data.’ 10. Hassan Ould Moctar (LSE): 'EU Border Externalisation and Uneven Development in West Africa' 11. Leanne Weber, ‘Policing the border within’

15:15-15:45- Coffee break

Creative Session: Showcasing the harms of a carceral and policing approach to migration in the UK and France, 15:45-17:15

12. Crossborder Forum: 'Establishing commonalities and bridges between UK and France' 13. Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants: 'The immigration system and criminalisation of migrants in the UK'. 14. Northern France based organisation: 'The criminalisation of migrants in France.' The panel will be facilitated by a creative note taker from Migrants in Culture with the aim to produce a digital resource. 

Tuesday September 12th

Incarceration, 10:00 -12:00

1. Hallam Tuck (University of Oxford) and Dorina Damsa (University of Oslo): ‘Foreign national prisons.’ 2. Rimple Mehta, (University of Western Sydney): ‘Refugee and Migrant Women in prisons.’ 3. Mary Bosworth and Andriani Fili (University of Oxford): ‘Immigration detention and deportation.’ 4. Francesca Esposito (University of Oxford, UK) and Natalia Corazza Padovani (University of Campinas, Brazil): 'Gender, mobilities, and imprisonment: entanglements between borders, migration control and criminal justice in the experiences of non-citizen women in Italy and Brazil'

Lunch - 12:00-12:45

Community and Activism, 12:45-14:15

5. Monish Bhatia, (University of York, UK) & Victoria Canning (University of Bristol, UK): ‘Activism and Abolition.’ 6. Hyab Yohannes, (University of Glasgow): ‘Learning from lived experience.’ 7. Antje Missbach, (Bielefeld University, Germany), Gerhard Hoffstaedter (University of Queensland, Australia): ‘Refugee activism in Malaysia and Indonesia.’

Conclusion, 14:15-14:45

8. Vanessa Barker, (University of Stockholm, Sweden): ‘Normative implications and possibilities.’


Katja Franko, (University of Oslo, Norway): ‘The politics of Border Control.’

This paper explores how global inequality is inscribed in, and productive of, contemporary citizenship regimes. Three examples of contemporary forms of differential treatment will be used as a starting point for reflection about law and inequality at the global level. How useful is the notion of hierarchies of citizenship for conceptualizing socio-legal inequality? How is this form of social inequality sustained by specific juxtapositions of power/knowledge and legal ordering?

Alpa Parmar, (University of Warwick, UK): ‘Race and Borders.’

This paper examines how the intersection of border control and criminalization impacts on race, by reflecting on the colonial history of the legal and spatial exclusion of racial minorities based on stereotypes and ongoing constructions of lawlessness that inform bordering and criminal justice practices. The paper also reviews current debates as they relate to race, borders, and criminology, including the pursuit of national sovereignty and shifts in the politics of immigration and crime and their centrality to the emergence of new forms of racial injustice.

Ana Aliverti, (University of Warwick, UK): ‘Colonial and Southern perspectives.’

Public and academic debates and activism around border and migration controls worldwide have been characterised by fierce contestation and polarisation, which in large part are fired up by electoral games, corporate interests and identity politics. This paper explores the place of affects for shoring up and disrupting bordered orders. In so doing, the paper seeks to offer conceptual and methodological tools to rethink the relationship between border and affects.

Jose Brandariz, (University of A Coruna, Spain): ‘Comparative Borders.’

This paper reflects on the strengths as well as the challenges posed by comparative explorations in border criminology. The diversity of bordered penality policies and practices creates specific obstacles for cross-national explorations. In order to overcome these hurdles, the paper examines a variety of aspects (e.g., the actual scope and effectiveness of deportation practices, the role played by so-called abnormal justice arrangements, the degree of hybridity between the immigration enforcement and criminal justice apparatuses, the impact of geopolitical factors, the constant innovation in the sphere of immigration detention, and the significance of the immigrant/asylum-seeker divide) to grasp the diversity of bordered penality and successfully carry out cross-national analyses in border criminology. 

Lucia Zedner, (All Souls College, University of Oxford, UK): ‘Citizenship deprivation.’

This paper explores legal and criminological debates about the status and nature of citizenship deprivation as revocation of rights, punishment, or an abrogation of state responsibilities to its citizens, and to other states. Border Criminology also draws attention to the place of citizenship deprivation within the wider arsenal of border controls that encroach on citizens’ rights such as passport confiscation, travel restriction orders, temporary exclusion, and erosion of due process rights at the border and in immigration appeals hearings. The paper concludes that attrition and deprivation of citizenship rights as tools of border policing constitute a failure of the state to provide security for all its citizens.

Jennifer Chacon, (Stanford University, USA): ‘Crimmigration.’

This paper will offer an intellectual history of border criminology in the US, with particular attention to the central role of critical legal theory – and particularly Critical Race Theory (CRT) – in the development of the field in the United States. This paper will trace developments of first and second generations of CRT/LatCrit scholarfship and underscores the central role of critical legal scholarship in the development of “crimmigration” scholarship in the US. At the same time, the paper will highlight the emerging shortcomings of this CRT-driven work, including its insufficient attention to anti-Black and anti-Indigenous laws and policies at the heart of US immigration law.

Diego Caballero Vélez (University of Warsaw, Poland), and Maggy Lee, (Hong Kong University): ‘Border externalisation politics in Poland and Belarus.’

This paper critically reviews the Fortress Europe thesis in the existing multi-disciplinary literature and explores the variations and contestations of border control from the Eastern European perspectives. It considers how the EU intersects criminal justice and migration control when certain forms of mobility are treated as part of the EU foreign/external dimension and the power dynamics this (re)produces between the EU and the Central Eastern European region. By drawing on the example of the Poland-Belarus border ‘crisis’ and EU responses to it, the paper highlights the limitations of an Eurocentric view and the importance of understanding inter-state political leveraging and domestic realities in border control.

Paresh Hate, (Jawaharal Nehru University, India): ‘The Bangladeshi ‘Infiltrator’ in the Courtroom.’

‘Bangladeshi infiltrator’ is the most dominant discourse through which regulation and governance of undocumented migrants happen in India. Probing the role played by state institutions such as courts and through bare legal acts, this essay argues for understanding the causal autonomy and hegemony of the state in shaping the legal and extra-legal of the migrant regulation. Studying immigration law and its application in the courtroom provides both legal-interpretative and ethnographic evidence of not only how border control and law are intimately connected but how political discourses are continually curated, sanitised, and legitimized through law. This essay builds on fieldwork around immigration cases attended in district courts of New Delhi and Mumbai in India between late 2019 to early 2023 alongside the researcher’s analyses of judgments and court orders of similar cases.

Sanja Milivojevic, (University of Bristol, UK), and Samuel Singler (University of Oxford, UK): ‘Policing, surveillance, and big data.’

This paper evaluates the impact of new digital surveillance devices on crimmigration control practices. Temporally, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence-based devices have played a crucial role in a more general turn toward pre-emptive bordering practices, whereby automated risk profiling algorithms have the authority to decide who can and cannot cross borders before these individuals embark on their travels. Simultaneously, surveillance technologies ensure that border policing continues even after the border has been crossed, effectively creating a situation in which border control has no expiry date. Spatially, new digital technologies are contributing to the re-scaling of crimmigration control both by allowing the transnationalisation of border policing practices and by enacting the border across levels of elevation, all the way from the subterranean level into the stratosphere.

Hassan Ould Moctar (LSE, UK)'EU Border Externalisation and Uneven Development in West Africa'

Border externalisation is fast becoming the prime method of response to migration from West Africa to the national territories of the European Union. The aim of this paper is threefold – firstly, it offers a non-exhaustive overview of migration and border control cooperation between the EU and the region of West Africa. Secondly, the paper offers an overview of different disciplinary perspectives on externalisation in the region, highlighting insights from geography, political economy, and anthropology, and drawing attention to analytical divergences and convergences between them. Lastly, it highlights productive analytical headway that has already been made in this regard within the discipline of criminology (eg Stambøl, 2021), and makes suggestions for further advancing such a research agenda.

Leanne Weber (University of Canberra, Australia), ‘Policing the border within’

This paper critically examines a number of internal bordering efforts observable across countries of the Global North that are aimed at expelling a variety of ‘crimmigrant others’. Shifting our focus from external to internal bordering reveals the increasingly blurred boundary between inclusion and exclusion, between physical borders and social boundaries, between administrative and criminal domains and between forms of exclusion directed towards citizens and non-citizens. The paper ends by conceptualising these trends in internal bordering against a broader backdrop of ‘necropolitics’ and the emergence of ‘societies of enmity’, as articulated by counter-colonial theorist Achille Mbembe.

Hallam Tuck (University of Oxford, UK) and Dorina Damsa (University of Oslo, Norway): ‘Foreign national prisons.’

Within the field of border criminology, a growing body of work has described the emergence of the all-foreign prison as an important signifier of the conjunction of border control and punishment. In this paper, we first critically examine the criminological production of the all-foreign national prison and provide a global overview of penal sites that fit the description. We then examine how these penal sites are subject to ongoing changes, including shifts in the legal and administrative integration of criminal justice and migration control, and a turn towards privatization and territorial outsourcing. In the final section, we compare the continuities and differences between all-foreign prisons and other carceral sites that seem to combine the logics and practices of bordered penality (Aas, 2014). This analysis helps to develop the potential for a more nuanced conceptual account of intersections of prisons and border control.

Rimple Mehta, (University of Western Sydney, Australia): ‘Refugee and Migrant Women in prisons.’

Internal and external bordering practices are designed to render migrant and refugee women (im)mobile through punitive measures. Underpinned by feminist ethics of care, this paper draws on the narratives of three women- a Bangladeshi woman in a prison in India, a woman from Suriname in a detention centre in the Netherlands and a woman from Lebanon in a prison in Australia. The geo-political regimes and the trajectories of migration may be different in each of these countries but there are striking similarities in the gendered ways in which women’s pathways to different spaces of confinement are defined. Women’s narratives of resisting carceral cultures and re-imagining borders provide crucial insights for exploring alternatives to the idea of the nation-state and the way justice and sovereignty are defined within it.

Mary Bosworth and Andriani Fili (University of Oxford, UK): ‘Immigration detention and deportation.’

In this chapter, we draw on original empirical research to document existing and emerging practices of immigration detention and deportation in Greece and the UK. Focusing on distinctions and continuities in the logic and form of border control in these two countries, we map their increasingly authoritarian nature. We do so by exploring how staff in both systems rely on forms of violence in their day-to-day work. In these sites, particularly in Greece, we see clearly how authoritarianism emerges from racist and racializing tropes, and how difficult it is to challenge or eradicate. Therefore, we raise urgent questions about the political consequences of border control for liberal democracies.

Francesca Esposito (University of Oxford, UK) and Natalia Corazza Padovani (University of Campinas, Brazil): 'Gender, mobilities, and imprisonment: entanglements between borders, migration control and criminal justice in the experiences of non-citizen women in Italy and Brazil'

This paper looks at the lived experiences of non-citizen women imprisoned in Brazil and Italy. Based on empirical data collected at prison sites in both countries, the paper sheds light on the intersecting mechanisms of criminalisation and marginalisation experienced by non-citizen women as well as on the role of frontline workers who, regardless of their intentions, end up enforcing violent forms of bordered penality. This comparative analysis aims to advance existing scholarly accounts of the complex articulations between immigration and penal power, which have been mainly developed in Northern Europe and North America. The paper also also intends to contribute to, and complicate, discussions on gender and crimmigration by demonstrating how mobility and citizenship regimes are themselves gendered and constitutive of gendered social orders.

Monish Bhatia, (University of York, UK) & Victoria Canning (University of Bristol, UK): ‘Activism and Abolition.’

Resistance to, and challenges against, the detention of migrants in the UK has become a regular facet of public and media attention, with legal challenges simultaneously addressing the harms of detention. Whilst this is a welcome shift in activism and resistance, we urge caution in how this is advocated. The narrow lens of immigration detention opens up the potential for the expansion of more insidious and everyday controls which impacts significantly on the lives, freedoms of migrant groups. This includes increases in reporting, bail surety, electronic tagging and the use of facial recognition technologies to track migrant movements. We encourage critical reflection on engaging with alternatives to detention discourses and suggest a holistic approach to the proactive abolition of invasive controls.

Hyab Yohannes, (University of Glasgow, UK)‘Learning from lived experience.’

Being an Eritrean, a refugee, a victim of trafficking, and a naturalised citizen has shaped me both as a person and as a researcher. In today's necropolitical world, people like me only surface as othered, marginalized, outlawed, and incarcerated. These complex processes, violent power relations, and causal mechanisms beneath are the objects of inquiry in this paper. This paper allows me to weigh in on my lived experience to confront the concealed spaces of de-humanity, de-existence, and unknowability in the processes of becoming, and the condition of being a refugee.

Antje Missbach, (Bielefeld University, Germany), Gerhard Hoffstaedter (University of Queensland, Australia): ‘Refugee activism in Malaysia and Indonesia.’

This paper analyses the broad spectrum of political campaigns, protest movements and self-help initiatives for, by and on behalf of refugees in Malaysia and Indonesia. These two Southeast Asian countries have not acceded to the International Refugee Convention but host substantial numbers of refugees and are affected by the Australian border and migration externalisation regime. Refugee support in Malaysia and Indonesia can be divided into refugee-led activism and care-taker activism as well as rights-based approaches and humanitarian/charity-driven approaches. By contrasting these different forms of refugee activism, our analysis seeks to extract new insights regarding scope, inclusivity/exclusivity, visibility and impact of different initiatives and sheds light on specific stakeholders, causes, and unintended side-effects of refugee activism.

Vanessa Barker, (University of Stockholm, Sweden): Normative implications and possibilities.’

This paper proposes a set of criteria to assess, evaluate, and develop normative inquiry within the field of border criminology. It seeks to move beyond the conventional view that social science research is either value-free or value-laden. The paper will furthermore identify and assess a set of substantive claims already present within the field as a way to contribute to this conversation.

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