Migration, recession and an emerging transnational biopolitics across Europe

Adrian J. BAILEY*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Scholarship linking migration with recession has focused on the responses by migrants to deteriorating economic and cultural conditions. This paper argues for a broader reading of how migration affects structural transformation and social change. The research intervenes in critical population geography by re-conceptualising how the transnational context of recession affects mutual constitutions of biopower and socio-spatial relations. Drawing on Foucault's discussion of biopower in Security, Territory, and Population, the argument is organised around three conceptual propositions: that migration makes population through the linked circulation of biopower and production of socio-spatial relations; that the transnational context of recession disrupts socio-spatiality and biopower; that the reproduction of socio-spatial relations emerges through a transnational biopolitics. The case-study considers Europe. As recession deepened, the changed resonance of attributes of migration including motility, quality, order, and home disrupted economic, social, and cultural relations. Migrant practices of remitting and transnational familyhood intensify social-spatial relations such as simultaneity and instaneity, and disrupt how ideas about boundedness and proximity legitimise concepts including flexicurity, community, and multiculturalism. Lately, discourses concerning migration to and from Europe evidence securitisation and protection, and underpin policy that emphasises transnational circuits, portability of protections, and close co-operation with offshore partners. An emerging transnational biopolitics suggests this recession has accentuated the role of migration in structural transformation and social change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-210
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Family
  • Governmentality
  • Remittances
  • Return migration
  • Scale
  • Transnational


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