The practices and mechanisms states use to forcibly move deportees across borders and sometimes vast distances have been curiously neglected by scholars. To remedy this imbalance this article develops a concept of deportation infrastructure. By building bridges between critical studies of infrastructure and migration and deportation studies, the article argues we can better understand topology, power relations, and resistance in the field of state-forced mobility. The article grounds this discussion in an analysis of deportation charter flights. It ends with a discussion of two additional concepts that speak to the theme of this special issue [Eule, Tobias, David Loher, and Anna Wyss. (2017). “Contested Control at the Margins of the State.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2017.1401511.], that is, the place of asymmetrical negotiations in the making and unmaking of border regimes. The first of these is strategic position, a term borrowed from studies of logistical politics. Deportees are sometimes able to utilise strategic positions when they exploit opportunities to disrupt finely tuned ecologies of air travel. The second is the mutability of infrastructure, a term that captures dynamics of change in the border regime.

borders, Deportation, infrastructure, logistics, migration
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Walters, W. (2017). Aviation as deportation infrastructure: airports, planes, and expulsion. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 1–22. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2017.1401517