Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration
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Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration

Edited by Katharyne Mitchell, Reece Jones and Jennifer L. Fluri

Border walls, shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, separated families at the border, island detention camps: migration is at the centre of contemporary political and academic debates. This ground-breaking Handbook offers an exciting and original analysis of critical research on themes such as these, drawing on cutting-edge theories from an interdisciplinary and international group of leading scholars. With a focus on spatial analysis and geographical context, this volume highlights a range of theoretical, methodological and regional approaches to migration research, while remaining attuned to the underlying politics that bring critical scholars together.
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Chapter 20: The biopolitics of alternatives to immigration detention

Robyn Sampson


While immigration detention has attracted a growing amount of critical attention, alternatives to immigration detention have largely gone unnoticed. This chapter starts to fill this gap by analysing a particular type of alternative to detention known as ‘community detention’. Building on debates about the uses and limitations of biopolitical theory in border studies, the author critically analyses the phenomenon of community detention to explore the nature of the exception in the governance of borders. The phrase embodied borders is used to account for the location and negotiation of state borders at the site of the migrant body. This raises significant conceptual challenges for the traditional definition of the state as a political authority bound by territory. In the chapter the author confirms yet renegotiates the nature of the exception in contemporary border policies.

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