Waiting for Work: Labour Migration and the Political Economy of Borders

Authored by: Roos Pijpers

The Ashgate Research Companion to Border Studies

Print publication date:  July  2011
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754674061
eBook ISBN: 9781315612782
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043997


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This chapter presents a review of literature on borders and labour migration, with a particular regional focus on the European Union (EU). Partly as a consequence of the globalization and security discourses that have emerged in the past decades and years, the academic community continues to portray a strong interest in migration across international borders. Within the EU, this interest is further constitutive of the recent eastward expansion and the migration pressures on the internal borders this event allegedly has caused. Many scholars have expressed their concern about the territorial exclusion that, in their view, is the result of the migration controls put in place by the EU and its Member States (Amato 2002; Bigo 1998, 2005, 2008; Bigo and Guild 2005; den Boer 1995, 2002; Guild 2005a, 2005b; Guild and Bigo 2002; Jileva 2002; Kostakopoulou 2000; Mitsilegas 2002; Pastore 2002; Puntscher Riekmann 2008; Thränhardt and Miles 1995; Verstraete 2001). In general, this literature points to what is seen as a fundamental ‘contradiction between greater openness of internal borders and the reinforcement of controls at the external borders’ (Foucher 1998, 242). The internal borders of the EU have disappeared for citizens of Member States only to reappear for aliens: ‘Freedom of mobility for some could only be made possible through the organized exclusion of others forced to move around as illegal aliens, migrants, or refugees’ (Verstraete 2001, 29).

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