Control over Migrants and Migration Movements: A Glance at History
The article outlines migration control in Europe from the 18th century to WWI with particular emphasis on its milestones and historical phases. It starts with the control criteria undertaken during the absolutism of the early modern period in order to manage migration movements and consolidate the power of the central state. This is followed by a presentation of the liberal attitude towards migrations arising from the French revolution. Over the course of the 19th century this attitude brought about a regime of relatively free transnational migration movements, responding to the rationale of economic liberalism and the international labour market. The third part focuses on state protectionism and interventionism following WWI, when the states strengthened their control systems over migration movements and started to govern them in order to protect their national labour markets and according to other national interests.
KEY WORDS: migration control, freedom of migration, migration policy, migration regimes, welfare state
CONTROL OVER MIGRANTS AND MIGRATION MOVEMENTS: A GLANCE AT HISTORY
The article outlines control over migrations and migrants from the 18th century to WWI with particularemphasis on its milestones and historical phases. It starts with a presentation of the policies conductedduring the absolutism of the early modern period in order to take advantage of the migrations withinthe framework of consolidating the power of the central state. The guidelines, criteria, bureaucratic andorganizational aspects of this policy are discussed. In the second part the focus is on the liberal attitudetowards migrations introduced by the French revolution with its principles of freedom of movementand migration. Over the course of the 19th century this led to a period of relatively free transnationalmigrations lasting until WWI. It coincided with the processes of modernization and mobilization of humanresources for the needs of economic expansion. In this period the movements were influenced bythe liberal economy and the international labour market. Most countries put only minimal restrictionson emigration or immigration, and the authorities did not exercise very tight control at the frontiers.State control was mostly aimed at protecting the migrants as well as using administrative and legal instrumentsto promote the economic interests of the national actors involved in the migration business,such as ports, shipping companies and travel agencies.The First World War radically limited the freedom of spatial mobility and imposed a strengtheningof mobility control systems. The advent of state protectionism after the war marked the passage frommigration laissez faire to restrictions with which the states managed the migrations and protectedtheir labour markets. The passport, as a compulsory document for personal and national identification,became the main instrument of control and for the implementation of migration policies. Theprinciple of inclusion or exclusion as well as the differentiation of migrants according to citizenshipoccurred as a consequence of the development of the nation state and the nationalization of welfaresystems. This required a thorough distinction between those eligible and those not eligible for socialrights, and the contradiction between structural unemployment and uncontrolled immigration becameless acceptable. The idea of immigrants as a spare labour force to be involved in case of shortagegained a foothold.