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987 - The biopolitics of migration in the Americas

16.07.2012 | 17:30 - 19:30
17.07.2012 | 17:30 - 19:30

Convener 1: Tigau, Camelia (CISAN - UNAM , DF, Mexico / Mexiko)
Convener 2: Bolaños, Bernardo (UAM - Cuajimalpa, DF, Mexico / Mexiko)

Foucault has identified two types of technologies of power: the anatomopolitique (anatomo-politics) placed on human body, and the biopolitique (biopolitics) centered on groups of human beings since the XVIII century. We can distinguish the following types of anatomopolitical devices in migration and labor law: slave trade; forced work; panoptical supervision of labor force; forced emigration as criminal punishment (banishment, forced exile); expulsion of immigrants (repatriation) and building of territorial fences. Among biopolitical devices, there are such historical means as: passports and visas for border control; classification of migrants by the national laws (temporary workers, guest workers, illegal workers, “brains” and other skilled workers); taxes to transportation fees designed to prevent undesirable immigrants.

This panel focuses on the biopolitics of migration in the Americas and it includes a case study of the Mexican migration policies. The case of Mexico is conflictive in many ways because of its extensive border with the United States and its attractiveness to immigrants from the south. Mexico has become the biggest producer of emigrants in the world, more than India, the Philippines, Morocco and Turkey, with approximately 11 million Mexicans living in the United States. At the same time, Mexico receives an increasing pressure of immigrant flows from Central and South America. When trying to prevent immigrants from entering to its territory, the Mexican government allows mistreatment to take place, both legally (with abusive fines, bureaucratic procedures and the power to arbitrarily decide the outcome of each individual case), and illegally (through extortion and racial discrimination).    

Mexican officials have explicitly disapproved the U.S. plan to build a fence along the border, claiming that it would lead to more Mexican deaths. The fence has produced a deterrence effect in many would-be immigrants, but it has also increased the risk of death during the journey by pushing immigrants to cross through the most remote areas of the Sonora-Arizona desert in conditions of extreme heat.     The papers included in this panel are as follows: 1) the Mexican case of emigration and biopolitics at the US border (Bernardo Bolaños); politics for high skilled migration vs. low skilled migration in North America (Camelia Tigau); the political philosophy of migration (Speranta Dumitru); Latin Americans in Spain (Amarela Varela); the ¨Code noir¨: the biopolitics or anatomopolitics of Enlightenment? (Akuavi Adonon).    

Keywords: Biopolitics, Latin American migration, labour law, brain drain

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