My most recent article in International Political Sociology is now published. View article
The article draws on my experience as an academic observer at the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) International Dialogue on Migration in 2016, 2017 and 2018 in New York at the United Nations. At the 2016 International Dialogue on Migration, the IOM unveiled its Migration Governance Index, a global benchmarking metric used to evaluate well-governed migration and monitor state progress toward the implementation of the migration-related targets in the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. While the IOM presents itself as a non-normative inter-governmental organization and technical service provider, in reality, I argue it exercises power and autonomy as an expert authority. Using the example of the Migration Governance Index, this article demonstrates how technical artifacts enable the IOM to exercise power at a distance and legitimate its institutional identity as the global lead agency on migration. In a fragmented field in which actors compete for authority, the Migration Governance Index federates and enrolls states and inter-governmental organizations into the IOM’s normative agenda of well-governed migration. Far from being a mere technical artifact, I argue the Migration Governance Index actively contributes to the construction of a global governmentality of migration management in which migration is constituted as a technocratic object of global governance.