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Privatising Border Control and Sovereign Power

This project will examine the privatisation of security and border control in the UK

Border control is one of the central issues of our time. For many years, the UK government has tried to harden the border, making it difficult for those without permission to enter, and easier to expel those who are no longer considered welcome. In this work, the state has relied extensively on the private sector to build and operate immigration detention centres, and to facilitate deportation and administrative removal. This project will subject such practices to scrutiny, through the first academic study of the ‘escort staff’ who transport and remove detainees. Although the border, legally and symbolically, is usually considered to be an articulation of state power and national identity, in practice, border control depends on the private sector. In focusing on this paradox, this project will consider the implications of the involvement of the private sector for our understanding of sovereign power and citizenship.

Principal Investigator: Professor Mary Bosworth, University of Oxford

Project part of

Tackling the UK's International Challenges

The projects funded under this programme aim to bring new research ideas and methods to bear on understanding the UK’s international challenges – past, current and future.

International

We foster international collaboration in the humanities and social sciences, and promote the sharing of international perspectives on global challenges.