Elie Wiesel memorably asked: “How can a human being be illegal?” Unlike Wiesel, who saw the idea of human beings as illegal as a contradiction in terms, contemporary penal systems are increasingly geared towards the production of immigrant illegality. This lecture examines these processes and outlines how the figure of the “crimmigrant other” has emerged not only as a central object of media and political discourse, but also as a distinct penal subject connecting migration and the logic of insecurity. Illegality, thus, defines not only a quality of certain acts, but becomes an existential condition, which shapes the daily lives of large groups within the society. The lecture will describe the production of the crimmigrant other as a multi-layered phenomenon that is deeply rooted in the intricate connections between law, scientific knowledge, bureaucratic practices, politics and popular discourse. Finally, inspired by Kai T. Erikson’s observation (1966) that deviant forms of behavior are often a valuable resource in a society, a question will be asked: What are the uses of the crimmigrant other? What kind of work does he or she perform in contemporary European societies?
Drinks reception to follow: Seminar room L 18:30-19:30pm