The biopolitics of the migration-development nexus: Governing migration in the UK (2019) Politics, 39 (4), pp. 448-463.
While politicians in the United Kingdom (UK) have engaged in fractious debate over the appropriate way of responding to the myriad issues arising from the so-called migration or refugee crisis in recent years, there is an apparent cross-party consensus regarding the ability of overseas aid and development spending to reduce levels of global economic migration. This suggests that the central tenets of what is known in the policy literature as the ‘migration-development nexus’ have been accepted by the political establishment in the UK, demonstrating a belief that development spending can be used to ameliorate the global economic inequalities seen as giving rise to mass migration. Drawing on Michel Foucault’s concepts of biopolitics, governmentality, and subjectification, this article argues that the migration-development nexus represents a technology for enacting a strategy of governance that operates through a dual process of enticing and maintaining mobile subjects. It is then suggested that in the UK context, this operates through the temporary nature of the time-limited visa regime, which allows migrants from outside the European Union to be ‘governed through mobility’. The article therefore illustrates how mobility can be central to governing logics, as well as something that can exceed them. © The Author(s) 2018.
biopolitics; Foucault; governance; migration-development nexus; mobility
European Union, governance approach, migration, refugee, social mobility; United Kingdom