Policing the Borders Within. Globalization, State Power and Magic

Event date
25 November 2021
Event time
15:30 - 17:00
Oxford week
MT 7
Wharton Room - All Souls College
Dr. Ana Aliverti, Warwick University

Notes & Changes

Please note that this event will be recorded, if you do not wish to be part of the recording, please feel free to turn your cameras off once the talk begins. The talk will be made available on the Criminology website and YouTube channel at a later date. 

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. 

Registrations will close at 12 midday on Wednesday 24th November.  The link will be sent to you later that afternoon. 


Ana Aliverti is a Reader in Law at the School of Law, University of Warwick. She holds a D.Phil in Law (Oxford), an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice (Distinction, Oxford), an MA in Sociology in Law (IISL), and a BA in Law (Honours, Buenos Aires). Her work brings into dialogue various disciplines (criminology, sociology, anthropology, social theory) to understand the changing functions of and relationships between citizenship, sovereignty and criminalization. She has conducted empirical research on the criminal courts and on the police in the UK. Her study on the British immigration police is published as Policing the Borders Within (OUP, 2021). 

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.


This event

All Souls Criminology Seminar Series
Organised by
Centre for Criminology

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