Illegality, Inc.: Clandestine Migration and the Business of Bordering Europe (California Series in Public Anthropology)

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9780520282513: Illegality, Inc.: Clandestine Migration and the Business of Bordering Europe (California Series in Public Anthropology)

In this groundbreaking ethnography, Ruben Andersson, a gifted anthropologist and journalist, travels along the clandestine migration trail from Senegal and Mali to the Spanish North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Through the voices of his informants, Andersson explores, viscerally and emphatically, how Europe’s increasingly powerful border regime meets and interacts with its target the clandestine migrant. This vivid, rich work examines the subterranean migration flow from Africa to Europe, and shifts the focus from the illegal immigrants” themselves to the vast industry built around their movements. This fascinating and accessible book is a must-read for anyone interested in the politics of international migration and the changing texture of global culture.

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From the Inside Flap:

"Illegality, Inc. is a rollercoaster ride through the emerging Euro-African borderlands, and at the same time a clever, timely and sometimes disturbing look at the actors who inhabit these borderlands. I know of no other monograph that explores the phenomenon of international migration from inside the heavily funded European border police forces, while at the same time casting such a critical and sarcastic view on journalists, academics and well-meaning NGOs that make up a growing 'illegality industry' with far-reaching consequences for people on the move. A must-read for anyone interested in one of the major challenges of the late modern world." Hans Lucht, author of Darkness before Daybreak: African Migrants Living on the Margins in Southern Italy Today

"Illegality, Inc. is breathtaking in its originality and scope. Extending across the vast expanses of the Sahara desert and the perilous journeys of migrants across the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, from Senegal and Mali to the Warsaw headquarters of the EU’s border police, Ruben Andersson deftly escorts his readers on a remarkable journey. Andersson’s methodologically innovative ethnography is truly refreshing and inspiring. Engaging creatively with a bewilderingly diverse range of actors, sites, and settings, this study helps us to comprehend a complex constellation of the often absurd features of the European border regime and the multifarious subjects and projects constituted thereby. This book reveals numerous intriguing linkages across space and time in its exploration of the intricate workings of the illegality industry.” Illegality, Inc. is a very rewarding work of scholarship and intellectual creativity, as well as a rare literary achievement." Nicholas De Genova, co-editor of The Deportation Regime: Sovereignty, Space, and the Freedom of Movement

"This beautifully written and politically powerful book is as compelling and moving as a novel but has the intent and theoretical depth of serious scholarship. A must read for anyone interested in migration and the borders that are constructed to restrain it, Illegality Inc focuses our attention not so much on the African migrants who attempt to reach Southern Europe but on the ways in which illegality’ is both discursively and practically brought into being and the industry of prevention, control and humanitarianism that has grown up around it." Katy Gardner, Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science

About the Author:

Ruben Andersson is Associate Professor at the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford. Visit for more information.

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