In this presentation, I reflect on findings from an ethnographic study I conducted with the British immigration police -the Immigration Compliance and Enforcement team (or ICE). As the enforcement arm of the Home Office, in charge of inland policing, this agency is peculiar in many respects: its composition and institutional culture, its rules and decision-making practices, the complex ethical dilemmas its officers face, the political environment that surrounds its work, its policing geographies and demographics. I argue that these peculiarities expose the new demands and challenges facing the state in exercising authority in a fast-moving, interconnected world, and its attempt to offer a semblance of order. The fragile, ever-changing grounds where immigration staff make decisions lead in practice to the random and informal operation of power, which relies on non-rational, magic-like elements to solve policing problems. The notion of magic attests to the attractions of immigration powers for everyday policing, as well as to its capricious and arbitrary operation. It challenges the assumed rationality of state bureaucracy and opens new theoretical avenues to understand policing, and state power more generally, under contemporary conditions.
Please note: The event will be a Hybrid event, but only available as 'in person' to Oxford Criminology staff and students with limited capacity.
Her book, Crimes of Mobility (Routledge, 2013), was co-awarded the British Society of Criminology Best Book Prize. She received the British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award and the Philip Leverhulme Prize in Law. Ana is also the recipient of the British Journal of Criminology's Radzinowicz Prize (2020). She serves on the editorial boards of Theoretical Criminology, Delito & Sociedad, the Howard Journal of Crime and Justice and Revista Española de Investigación Criminológica. Ana is Co-Director of the Criminal Justice Centre at Warwick and an Associate Director of Border Criminologies.