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Lecture | Leiden Interdisciplinary Migration Seminar (LIMS)

Getting to the core of crimmigration

16 January 2018
Leiden Interdisciplinary Migration Seminars 2017-2018
Johan Huizinga Building
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Conference Room (2.60)

In this first LIMS seminar of the semester, Maartje van der Woude (Law) will give a presentation entitled ‘Getting to the core of crimmigration’. The discussant will be Manon van der Heijden (History). Cakes and cookies will be provided and you are welcome to eat your lunch during the seminar.


Terrorism and mass migration mobilities are seen as acute and grave threats to the national security of states. State agencies fight back against the unwanted “permeability” of state borders in order to reinstate the central parameter of territorial statehood. In doing so states use a combination of often interrelated crime and migration control strategies, also known as crimmigration control strategies. The notion of borders is frequently discussed in the crimmigration literature. Scholars have pointed out that the merging field of crimmigration control functions as a clear gatekeeper in terms of membership and access. On the hand, this has resulted in borders seen as ‘being everywhere’ (Balibar 2002, Mutsaers 2014) and a wide range of non-traditional social control agents becoming pulled into tasks of sorting out who belongs to a certain society and who does not (Guiraudon and Lahav 2000; Ambrosini & Van der Leun 2015) on the other hand physical borders seem to become again viewed as major tools of exclusion “(…) that can be strengthened and fostered to protect a community and a society against a phantasmic threat of otherness that tends to become flesh in the demonized and abject figure of a migrant or refugee” (Rajaram and Grundy-Warr 2007). At the border, a distinction is made between ‘bona fide’ global citizens and ‘crimmigrant others’ (Aas 2011; Aas 2013; Barker 2012; Stumpf 2006; Van der Woude and Van Berlo 2015). Despite the different macro-level explanations that can account for the process of crimmigration, many scholars directly or indirectly refer to the central role of discretionary decision-making at lower policy levels. Discretion allows law enforcement officials – police officers, prosecutors, judges, detention officials – to make largely autonomous decisions on how to deal with an individual case. Nevertheless, this focus on the street level might only partially clarify the process of crimmigration. By applying a more holistic perspective to discretion and discretionary decision-making in this lecture I aim to “get to the core of crimmigration”.

About LIMS

The Leiden Interdisciplinary Migration Seminars (LIMS) aim at fostering further discussion across disciplines on migration-related topics and creating an open dialogue between the speakers and the attendees. The seminars are a platform for those at Leiden University working on migration-related topics.