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The purpose of this paper is to bridge the scholarships on deportation and citizenship and account for the “soft line” between aliens and citizens (Ngai, 2004) epitomised in the current dilemma on deportation enforcement. In particular, this paper explores the extent to which, and why, states are unable to enforce deportation orders and the concurrent creation of new forms of quasi-members of the polity. Building upon the emerging literature on the so-called ‘deportation turn’, whereby countries are seeking to deport an increasingly high number of undocumented migrants to their alleged countries of origin (De Genova and Peutz, 2010), this paper focuses on the constraints that states face in fully implementing deportation and the manner in which they respond to them. This paper suggests that the limited capacity of states to exercise efficaciously their power of coercion, such as deportation, can be understood as a function of the predicament of liberal democratic society.

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Working paper


Refugee Studies Centre

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