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The “Pull Factor” Problematization in the Emergence of Everyday Bordering in the UK Welfare State



ID: <oai:doaj.org/article:f33d9fdfee9941289b28d2aa0c70cdad>·DOI: <10.3390/genealogy5040093>


The “everyday bordering” concept has provided key insights into the effects of diverse bordering practices upon social life, placing the bordering of the welfare state among wider state interventions in an autochthonous politics of belonging. Sociological contributions have also introduced new explanations as to why states pursue such measures, positing that neoliberal states seek legitimacy through increasing activities to (re)affirm borders within this politics of belonging, compensating for a failure to govern the economy in the interests of citizens. To what extent is this visible in the state-led emergence of (everyday) borders around welfare in the United Kingdom, often cited as a key national case? This article draws from 20 elite interviews to contribute to genealogical accounts of the emergence of everyday bordering through identifying the developing “problematizations” connected to this kind of bordering activity, as the British state began to distinctly involve welfare-state actors in bordering policies in the 1990s and early 2000s. This evidence underlines how these policies were tied to a “pull factor” problematization of control failure, where the state needed to reduce various “pull factors” purportedly attracting unwanted migrants in order to control immigration per se, with little evidence that legitimacy issues tied to perceived declining economic governability informed these developments in this period. These findings can inform future genealogical analyses that trace the emergence of everyday bordering.

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