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About the event

Over the last decade many states across the world have boosted their legal and institutional capacity to deport non-citizens residing on their territory, including failed asylum seekers, illegal migrants, and convicted criminals. Scholars have analysed this development primarily through the lens of immigration control. Deportation has been viewed as one amongst a range of measures designed to control entrance, distinguished primarily by the fact that it is exercised inside the territory of the state. But deportation also has broader social and political effects. The practice provides a powerful way through which the state reminds noncitizens that their presence in the polity is contingent upon acceptable behaviour. Furthermore, immunity from deportation is increasingly one of the few privileges that citizens enjoy that distinguishes them from permanent residents.

The aim of this conference was to encourage interdisciplinary and comparative scholarship on deportation, broadly conceived as the lawful expulsion power of states, both as an immigration control and as a social control mechanism. The conference will serve as a vehicle for bringing together scholars from a range of disciplines, including politics, sociology, history, international relations, law, criminology and anthropology, interested in the study of deportation. 

Guest speakers included Professor Guy S Goodwin Gill, Professor Daniel Kanstroom, Professor Antje Ellermann, Professor Annemarie Sammartino, Professor Catherine Dauvergne, Professor Deirdre Moloney and Dr Darshan Vigneswaran.


What kinds of historical practices (eg banishment, expulsion, exile) should be seen as the forerunners of contemporary deportation power? What roles did these practices play in the reproduction of political community and the maintenance of social and political order?

Who are the main subjects of deportation power and how have they changed over time as a result of political and social concerns? In what ways does subjection to deportation power map on to patterns of race, gender, and age?

What legal, political and social constraints confront states in their attempt to deport individuals? How do individuals and social and community groups go about the task of challenging deportation power? How do prevalent (and conflicting) conceptions of membership (official, legal, and popular) influence the state’s ability to use deportation as a membership defining tool?

How does the practice of deportation affect the way non-citizens see membership in the states in which they live? What are the effects of deportation upon the families of the deported and the societies to which deported people are sent? What are the consequences of deportation for those who return home? How does the threat of deportation affect the volume and character of unlawful residence in modern polities? How does deportation influence inter-state relations?

This conference was made possible by a grant from the John Fell-OUP Fund.


Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held in Trinity term. It is named after Professor Elizabeth Colson, a renowned anthropologist.

Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture is named in honour of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. It is held each year in Michaelmas term.

Public Seminar Series

Each term the RSC holds a series of public seminars, held on Wednesday evenings at Queen Elizabeth House. Click here for details of forthcoming seminars.

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Forthcoming events

A celebration of the life of David Turton

Saturday, 20 July 2024, 2pm to 3pm @ The Crypt Cafe, St Peters Church, Northchurch Terrace, London N1 4DA