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In this article I explore why, despite the fact that it seems to represent the epitome of forced migration, deportation (the quotidian practice of lawful expulsion) is generally ignored by forced migration scholars. My key claim is that deportation is implicitly deemed a legitimate form of forced migration. Forced migration is not simply a descriptive term; it is also typically an evaluative one. Deportation is treated differently because it does not violate the key principles of a liberal-statist world order. I begin this piece by explaining why deportation is a phenomenon of such significance as to warrant attention. I then examine the normative framework (liberal-statism) underlying (most) studies of forced migration. I conclude by arguing that, even if one accepts the moral validity of this framework, the boundaries between deportation and other types of forced migration are often blurred, challenging the assumption that deportation can safely be ignored by scholars.

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Journal article


Oxford University Press

Publication Date



32 (2)


116 - 129