States are increasingly relying on detention for purposes of migration control. Research in immigration detention facilities illustrates detainees’ deprivation of their sense of belonging and how they in turn question the legitimacy of immigration detention and the (expected) expulsion. Although the perceived legitimacy deficit of immigration detention is recognized in criminological research, the interactions between detainees and migration officers – the tensest interactions in immigration detention – have received scarce attention. Based on ethnographic research in a Dutch and two Belgian immigration detention centers, I will argue that (counter-)narratives are central in these interactions as they are vital in processes of boundary challenging and maintenance. I will illustrate how stories that criticize the legitimacy of immigration detention and expulsion are actively shared between detainees, and how they are mobilized in the conversations with the migration officers. I will also examine how migration officers respond to these delegitimation narratives. In doing so, the portrait of a high-stakes game emerges, especially from the perspective of detainees who do not want to leave the territory.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 14 Nov 2019
EventAnnual Meeting of American Society of Criminology 2019 - Marriott Marquis, San Francisco, United States
Duration: 13 Nov 201916 Nov 2019


ConferenceAnnual Meeting of American Society of Criminology 2019
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

ID: 48752247