Session organisers: Mat Coleman (Ohio State University, US) Mike Collyer (University of Sussex, UK) Deirdre Conlon (Saint Peter’s University, US) and Elisa Pascucci (University of Sussex, UK)

Migration, both across and within international boundaries, has long challenged the essentialisation of territory that is central to classical understandings of geopolitics. Established critical approaches to the ‘geopolitics of mobility’ (Hyndman 1997) have identified migration control or humanitarian action as key sites for the respatialisation of state authority. As embodied subjects of that authority migrants face contradictory processes of facilitation and control of movement. We are interested in the implications of these contradictions in terms of their impact on those who are, or wish to be, mobile and for understanding state practices of control. We welcome papers that explore the intersections between (im)mobility and state action, particularly those based on recent empirical work.

States’ actions around mobility, the contradictions therein, as well as their impact on (im)mobility manifest in numerous ways. Among these are inequalities in access to mobility (and immobility). Most obviously, this involves practices of radical exclusion and spatial control exercised over migrant bodies. In some cases this results in forced mobility with the aim of reterritorialising out of place bodies, such as deportation or exclusion. In other cases it may be immobility that is enforced through migrant detention or the stranding or ‘warehousing’ of asylum seekers and refugees in camps, transit centres, and off-shore sites (Conlon, 2011; Mountz, 2011). There may be a combination of both, as recent investigations of mobility within detention estates have demonstrated (Gill 2009; Hiemstra forthcoming). These practices focus on rendering certain individuals invisible to the wider public while also serving to perpetuate the figure of the migrant as problem or threat. For other groups of people it is the borders themselves that are rendered invisible by their unencumbered passage across them and implications of state involvement also include the facilitation of mobility for these privileged actors. There may be an interrelationship between these practices of facilitation and control of mobility, as ass="mark">Sparke (2006) has suggested.

We are also interested in challenges to state practices of control. The movement of border controls away from the edges of state territory, either through extra-territorial controls or through the movement inwards (Coleman, 2012) of key elements of control, has coincided with a more elaborate performance of control at the borderline itself, the construction of new border architectures and greater public attention to statistics relating to migration and control. The analysis of state performativity in this area offers an additional explanatory framework for state action. Yet another productive line of inquiry examines inter-state agreements and practices related to mobility and migrant removal (Collyer, 2012) as well as the role of institutional actors that are external to states, such as UNHCR, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and various migrant support groups, to these processes. Coinciding with these practices of control, many states have devoted new levels of attention to attracting or influencing overseas nationals, expanding voting rights, institutionalising favourable tax arrangements or officialising forms of representation, such as diaspora ministries. Questions of ‘building’ diaspora have much in common with state building processes in their redefinition of who legitimately forms part of the nation.

In light of the above, we welcome papers that examine the geopolitics of mobility and immobility. Possible paper topics might include (but are not limited to):

§ State practices of migration control
§ The spatialised control of migrant bodies
§ Migrant experiences of mobility and (im)mobility
§ Mobility as privilege
§ Moving borders – interiorisation and/or extra-territorial mechanisms of state border control
§ Border architecture(s)
§ State performativity at border sites
§ The role of external/non-state actors in mobility and (im)mobility
§ Diasporas and state building

Please send inquiries / abstracts of no more than 250 words to Elisa Pascucci ( by September 15th 2012

Coleman, M. (2012) The "local" migration state: The site-specific devolution of immigration enforcement in the U.S. South. Law & Policy. 34(2): 159-190.
Collyer, M. (2012) Deportation and the micropolitics of exclusion: The rise of removals from the UK to Sri Lanka. Geopolitics. 17(2): 276-292
Conlon, D. (2011) Waiting: Feminist perspectives on the spacings/timings of migrant (im)mobility, Gender, Place, and Culture. 18(3): 353-360.
Gill, N. (2009) Governmental mobility: The power effects of the movement of detained asylum seekers around Britain’s detention estate. Political Geography. 28: 186-196.
Hiemstra, N. (forthcoming) “You don’t even know where you are”: Chaotic geographies of US migrant detention and deportation, in D. Moran, N. Gill and D. Conlon (eds.) Carceral Spaces: Mobility and Agency in Imprisonment and Migrant Detention. Forthcoming with Ashgate.
Hyndman, J. (1997) Border crossings. Antipode. 29(2): 149-176.
Mountz, A. (2011) Where asylum seekers wait: Feminist counter-topograhies of sites between states. Gender, Place and Culture. 18(3): 381-399.
Sparke, M. 2006, A neoliberal nexus: Citizenship, security and the future of the border. Political Geography. 25 (2) 2006: 151 – 180.