Migration and Neoliberalism: Creating Spaces of Resistance

A Review of Contesting Citizenship: Irregular Migrants and New Frontiers of the Political by Anne McNevin

In: Historical Materialism
Simon Behrman University of East Anglia

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Anne McNevin’s book provides a valuable contribution to ongoing debates about the plight of irregular migrants in the context of neoliberal hegemony. It combines detailed analysis of contemporary movements that resist the ever-increasing controls over borders and movement, together with critical assessments of a range of contemporary theorists on the question. McNevin’s central argument is that neoliberalism not only delineates the migrant subject in various ways, but also traps activists into replicating many harmful assumptions about ‘deserving’ versus ‘undeserving’ migrants. She further argues for a resurrection of the political subjectivity of migrant communities, by both exploiting the crisis engendered at the nexus of neoliberal economics and the sovereign subject, and resisting the framework set by those paradigms.

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