Dr Mark Johnson, Reader in Social Anthropology, Department of Social Sciences, University of Hull

Migration, Surveillance and Embodied Infrastructures of Care

In this paper I want to think about and extend analytically the idea of migration infrastructure by bringing it into conversation with recent writing about surveillance drawing on ethnographic work on Filipino migration to Saudi Arabia. While surveillance features routinely in discussions of migration in terms of boundary crossing and border policing, surveillance studies invites us to attend to the wider systems and processes of surveillance that in a myriad of different contexts produce a range of normative and abject subject positions and that enable and foreclose movement across and participation within public spaces and cultures for different sorts of people, migrants included. Drawing on the concept of ‘people as infrastructure’ I examine in particular the way that forms of lateral surveillance features in migrant practices of care, an overlooked but vital part of the way that migrants create ‘platforms for living’, as well as enact social control and normative conformity, in sometimes precarious situations.

Find out more about the Migration cluster at the Department of Social Anthropology.

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