069 Risks, Targets, Knowledge: The ambivalent informational governance of European migration policies

Wednesday, July 12, 2017: 2:00 PM-3:45 PM
WMB - Hugh Fraser Seminar Room 2 (University of Glasgow)

Fierce controversies about the best political responses to the current refugee ‘crisis’ in Europe and the related rise of populist anti-immigrant movements have thrown new spotlights on the ambivalent role of knowledge in migration governance. (Better) knowledge is deemed necessary to improve political decision-making, yet, the resulting obsession with risk analysis, targets and evidence in policy-making is also said to have contributed to the rise of the ‘post-factual democracy’. What role does knowledge play in migration-related decision-making and how is it used strategically? Contributions to this panel examine these questions across a range of analytical frameworks and empirical examples. Andrew Geddes’ paper reconstructs how shifting understandings of migration risk held by relevant actors’ in Europe’s migration governance system have caused fundamental changes in decision-making. Emma Carmel analyses the links between knowledge generation, corporate expertise and migration governance in the EU and shows how major European security corporations have asserted a privileged position in related decision-making. Christina Boswell discusses the use of targets as generators of political trust in British immigration policy and identifies a paradoxical effect: while targets are routinely drawn on to bestow integrity and authenticity to political leaders, their authority is also profoundly questioned. Regine Paul examines how the EU Commission uses Frontex’ risk analysis to advance the desired integration of border control policies without openly questioning member states’ sovereignty. Overall, the panel nuances and reflects on the ambivalent role of knowledge as an indispensable but inevitably – though often disguisedly – biased device for migration governance.

Regine Paul and Christina Boswell
Discussant :
Christof Roos
The Drivers of Migration Governance
Andrew Geddes, European University Institute
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