4784 - Migration law as a neocolonial device. A Foucauldian reading

This paper focuses on the technologies of power applied to migration in America. Foucault (1976, 1978-1979) has identified two types of technologies of power: the anatomopolitique placed on human body, and the biopolitique 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: family name laws; 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. We adhere to Noiriel's hypothesis (2001) that the notions of "popular sovereignty" and "nation state" explain the application of modern technologies of power to migration. We use empirical evidence from Mexican and North American history to overcome the Eurocentric perspectives of Foucault and Noiriel. We claim that the crisis of concepts as “popular sovereignty” and “nation state” due to globalization delegitimizes current policies on migration. Even if passports could have been devices of liberal democracies, most of contemporary migration law has become a direct neocolonial device. Even more, many southern countries laws are neocolonial technologies of northern countries.  

Palabras claves: Migration law, Foucault, biopolitics, passports

Autores: Bernardo, Bolaños Guerra (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana - Cuajimalpa, Mexico / Mexiko)


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