States of Suspicion: How Institutionalised Disbelief Shapes Migration Control Regimes

Borrelli, Lisa Marie; Lindberg, Elin Annika Margareta; Wyss, Anna (2021). States of Suspicion: How Institutionalised Disbelief Shapes Migration Control Regimes. Geopolitics, 27(4), pp. 1025-1041. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/14650045.2021.2005862

[img] Text
Borrelli__Lindberg_and_Wyss_2021.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (570kB) | Request a copy

This special section emerged out of discussions between a group of scholars researching border and migration control regimes in Europe. In our research, we had all identified suspicion as characteristic of migration governance. We saw it in the anxiety-ridden public discourses surrounding ‘unwanted’ immigration, in increasingly repressive legal frameworks, in bureaucratic classification schemes and technologies designed to identify suspected, illegalised travellers or deserving from undeserving asylum applicants, and finally, in the distrustful gaze of street-level bureaucrats enforcing migration law. We had also experienced suspicion directed against us as researchers by the state agencies we were researching. Based on these observations, this introduction develops a conceptual framework of states of suspicion, which captures how suspicion permeates migration control on the individual as well as structural level: as an affective element, as codified in law and institutionalised practice, and as manifested in material border and migration control technologies. The contributions to the special section shed light on these various elements, and taken together, enabling us to capture the constitutive nature of suspicion in contemporary migration control regimes. The special section discusses the implications of suspicion, in particular for those people who are rendered suspicious by default. Studying suspicious states, we argue, enables us to trace how migration control produces, sustains and normalises racialised global inequalities.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


02 Faculty of Law > Department of Legal Theory and History of Law > Rechtssoziologie
02 Faculty of Law > Department of Public Law > Institute of Public Law
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology

UniBE Contributor:

Borrelli, Lisa Marie, Lindberg, Elin Annika Margareta, Wyss, Anna


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Taylor & Francis




Anna Wyss

Date Deposited:

14 Feb 2022 14:48

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:05

Publisher DOI:





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback