Offering return assistance and financial inducements to migrants and asylum-seekers, assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) programmes are critical to the management of migration. While AVRR programmes have emerged as an area of study in their own right, little attention has been paid to the role of these schemes in the transnational politics of anti-smuggling policy. Building on insights from border studies, migration studies and security studies, this article examines the Global Assistance for Irregular Migrants (GAIM) programme. The GAIM programme is an AVRR programme funded by the Canadian government and implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which targeted Sri Lankan nationals stranded following the disruption of smuggling ventures in West Africa. This article examines how the GAIM programme framed, rationalised and obscured the practice of neoliberal deportation as a humanitarian gesture in the interests of migrants themselves. It documents and conceptualises the humanitarian claims, narratives and representations mobilised by Canada and the IOM to explain and justify the return of stranded asylum-seekers. It argues that the GAIM programme can be analysed as a form of humanitarian securitisation, which obscures the politics of anti-smuggling policy, masks the violence of deportation and legitimises the return of stranded asylum-seekers.
Knowledge controversies of global migration governance: Understanding the controversy surrounding the Global Compact, co-authored with Scott Watson. In Research Handbook on the Law and Politics of Migration, edited by Catherine Dauvergne, Edward Elgar Press.
In this chapter, we explore the nature of the controversies that arose during the negotiation of the Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the impact of designing negotiations as a ‘hybrid forum’ to contain these controversies, and the ‘excess’ controversies that emerged outside of the official negotiation process that ultimately influenced final adoption of the agreement. To do so, we draw upon the literature in science and technology studies (STS) – in particular, actor-network theory (ANT) – to conceptualize and analyse the debate surrounding the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Specifically, we adapt the concepts of ‘translation’, ‘knowledge controversy’, and ‘hybrid forum’ to examine the controversy that animates the global dialogue on migration. Building on these concepts from ANT, we explore some elements of the controversy surrounding the Global Compact to understand how the international cooperative framework, its text, and related concerns circulated across networks between laypersons, government representatives, and experts. We are interested in the translation of the Global Compact from the inter-governmental to the national level – and from the UN system into the public domain – in a process that challenged the established boundaries of the debate itself. In what follows, we specify some of the ways in which the controversy overflowed the narrow social boundaries and epistemological parameters imposed upon it by official spokespersons. These developments call into question claims that hybrid forums lead to democratic outcomes (see Callon et al. 2009).
Measuring ‘Well-Governed’ Migration: The IOM’s Migration Governance Indicators. In The International Organization for Migration: The New ‘UN Migration Agency’ in Critical Perspective, edited by Martin Geiger and Antoine Pécoud, Palgrave Macmillan, International Political Economy Series.
This chapter examines how the International Organization for Migration (IOM) intervenes in global migration governance through the production of knowledge and the deployment of technical expertise. It analyses the IOM’s Migration Governance Indicators, a migration governance benchmarking metric created to define well-governed migration, evaluate institutional capacity to manage migration and monitor state progress towards the implementation of the migration-related targets contained in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. It argues that the Migration Governance Indicators translate the meaning of well-governed migration into material form and make it possible for the IOM to govern at a distance by issuing symbolic judgements regarding states’ institutional capacity to manage migration. While the IOM describes itself as a non-normative organisation acting in the service of states, the Migration Governance Indicators serve a social and political purpose. Far from being politically impartial, the Migration Governance Indicators empower the IOM by consolidating its expert authority, enrolling various actors into the agenda of well-governed migration and legitimising its newfound institutional identity as the UN migration agency.
Making migration knowable and governable: Benchmarking practices as technologies of global migration governance
International Political Sociology
Using the theoretical toolkit of material-semiotics, this article theorizes global migration governance as a governing technology that constitutes migration as an object of global governance. Methodologically, the analysis draws on event observation of the International Organization for Migration’s International Dialogue on Migration. Empirically, the article uses the illustrative example of the International Organization for Migration’s Migration Governance Index to make the case for a material-semiotic account of global migration governance more concrete. Overall, the article seeks to examine and enhance the contribution practice-theoretical approaches make to the analysis of global governance.
This article offers a process-mechanism explanation of securitization. To make the case for a process-mechanism account more concrete, I use interpretivist process tracing to explain the crisis episode of the Sun Sea, a Thai cargo ship carrying Sri Lankan asylum-seekers, and the securitization of irregular migration in Canada. Drawing on interviews and grey literature, the article shows how securitization was possible and under what conditions, and argues that ideational dispositions of security organizations induced state officials toward a security interpretation of the the Sun Sea. The article aims to demonstrate that process-mechanism explanations represent a compelling methodological alternative with which to trace and explain securitization. The article sees itself as part of a broader refinement of a sociological variant of securitization theory. It seeks to examine and enhance the contribution that this ‘post-Copenhagen’ approach – its core assumptions and theoretical framework – makes to the analysis of securitization.
Cosmopolitanism and liberal universalism in International Relations theory: Moralising politics or politicising ethics?
Millennium: Journal of International Studies
Mapping out the constellation between liberal universalism, cosmopolitanism and International Relations (IR) theory, the following works explicitly politicise the ethics of contemporary cosmopolitanism, thereby responding to the criticism that cosmopolitan theory offers little more than a moralisation of politics. In a series of sustained engagements with IR’s major theoretical perspectives, the following books explore the ways in which conventional and alternative perspectives explain the origins, prospects and limits of a modern cosmopolitan view of world politics. Through an examination of recent work by Richard Beardsworth, Gideon Baker and John M. Hobson, this review essay highlights an emerging dialogue between cosmopolitanism and IR. In different ways, and with different implications for IR, the following works develop a theoretically rigorous account of and response to three distinct yet interrelated criticisms against modern cos-mopolitanism: the critique of liberal universalism; the charge of impractical idealism; and lastly, the alleged Eurocentric and imperialist legacy of modern cosmopolitanism.