45 / 2017
Synnøve Bendixsen

The Production of Irregular Migrants: The Case of Norway

Irregular migration is a growing phenomenon in Europe and elsewhere. In Norway, as in other European countries, there has been a process of heavy restrictions and limited liberalisation in asylum and immigration policies. Drawing on research on irregular migration and my own fieldwork with irregular migrants in Norway, this article discusses four areas of government action that explain how irregular migration is produced, namely 1) the de- and reestablishing of borders, 2) categorization as a management strategy, 3) the production of a deportable subject and, finally, 4) the criminalization of people who are in the territory “illegally”. These are complexly interrelated techniques used by governments in their efforts to exercise authority over people who are in the nation-state “illegally”. I focus on how the nation-state configures and produces irregular migrants in their own back yard. The governmentality of irregular migrants is simultaneously the production of such a category of people. 
KEY WORDS: irregular migration, governmentality, social borders, deportation, criminalization