February 5, 2019 - 11:45 to 12:30

Report and Deport: Public Vigilance and Migration Policing in Australia

11:45 to 12:30
Université de Montréal, Carrefour des arts et des sciences
Pavillon Lionel-Groulx (3150, rue Jean-Brillant)
Local C-2059

No reservation required

Speaker: James Walsh


Recent escalations in migration control involve the criminalization of non-citizens. In assessing this punitive turn criminologists have highlighted drastic expansions in state sovereignty and coercion. Focusing on the Australian context, this talk examines a less noticed trend: the civilianization of migration policing. To facilitate irregular migrants removal, the government has created tip-lines that encourage private citizens to conduct surveillance and anonymously ‘dob-in’ or report unlawful non-citizens. Approaching the initiative as a distinct responsibilization strategy that enrolls the entire citizen body as policing agents, I explore its instrumental and symbolic goals, whether expanding official gazes or restoring an exclusive sense of national citizenship. Assessing the functions and effects of public vigilance reveals important tensions and ambiguities within the responsibilization process. In particular it demonstrates how ‘adaptive’ approaches to order maintenance are not external to, but potentially promote and perpetuate, punitive forms of sovereign power.

Biography of the speaker

James Walsh is an Assistant Professor of Criminology at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. His research focuses primarily on issues associated with surveillance, migration policing, and border security. In addition, he has an emerging interest in the topics of crime and media, terrorism, and moral panics.


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