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Contesting CitizenshipIrregular Migrants and New Frontiers of the Political$
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Anne McNevin

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231151283

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231151283.001.0001

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Policing Australia’s Borders

Policing Australia’s Borders

New Terrains of Sovereign Practice

(p.68) 3 Policing Australia’s Borders
Contesting Citizenship

Anne McNevin

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on the highly restrictive and punitive treatment of asylum seekers adopted in Austrialia in recent years. Why has so much effort gone into border policing in this context? It is argued that policing Australia's borders has served to reinvigorate a particular notion of citizenship and national identity made vulnerable amidst anxieties about Australia's neoliberal trajectory. Border policing creates for domestic consumption an image of a state in control: a state with the power and will to defend its sovereign borders in spite of its integration with global governance regimes that defend the right to asylum. This image is precisely the opposite of the one generated by decades of neoliberal reform. In the latter case, painful structural adjustments have been justified as being the result of integration with global governance structures against whose liberalizing drive there is no rational defense. Thus, even where irregular migrants are not employed as a source of essential labor, border policing remains implicated in strategies to contain opposition to the advance of global capital.

Keywords:   Australia, immigration policy, border policing, asylum seekers, national identity, neoliberalism, irregular migrants, citizenship

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