Handbook of Political Anthropology
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Handbook of Political Anthropology

Edited by Harald Wydra and Bjørn Thomassen

This Handbook engages the reader in the major debates, approaches, methodologies, and explanatory frames within political anthropology. Examining the shifting borders of a moving field of enquiry, it illustrates disciplinary paradigm shifts, the role of humans in political structures, ethnographies of the political, and global processes. Reflecting the variety of directions that surround political anthropology today, this volume will be essential reading to understanding the interactions of humans within political frames in a globalising world.
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Chapter 21: The politics of movement and migration

Parvathi Raman

Abstract

This chapter analyses contemporary political struggles over mobility, and the production of racialised migration regimes. By discussing the story of Commonwealth migration to postwar Britain, I focus is on the intersection between race and labour migration. I compare postwar migration to the role of the border in ‘Brexit Britain’. I argue that mobility, fundamental to the human condition and central to the making of our modern world, has now become a deeply disputed political right. I suggest that, ultimately, there is not a migration ‘crisis’ in the contemporary world, but rather a more general crisis of liberal democracy, a political ideology that has produced a highly discriminatory, profitable and inhuman ‘migration industry’. In asking ‘who has the right to cross the border’, we also ask ourselves fundamental questions about political subjectivity and governance in the 21st century.

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