Processes of Sub-Citizenship: Neoliberal Statecrafting ‘Citizens,’ ‘Non-Citizens,’ and Detainable ‘Others’

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Increasingly, scholars are exploring the politics of migration and the shifting terrain of citizenship from a critical mobilities perspective. To contribute to these discussions, in this paper, I explore how processes of sub-citizenship occur as nation-states craft immigration, citizenship, and border securitization policies and practices. I argue that complex and shifting processes of sub-citizenship largely occur through the nation-state’s production of ‘insiders’ (‘citizens’) and ‘outsiders’ (‘non-citizens’). As a nascent attempt to introduce sub-citizenship, I draw upon recent high-profile cases of family separation, abuse, and neglect experienced by children with ‘illegal migrant’ status in the United States and Australia. Under the international nation-state system and the neoliberal globalization paradigm, the border policing powers of nation-states are primed to expand and intensify processes of sub-citizenship. Those at lower levels of the sub-citizen hierarchy are at risk of experiencing various forms of state-led violence, including deportation, detention, and torture.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalSocial Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by Charles Darwin University’s International Postgraduate Research Scholarship, 2013–2017.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the author.


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