The Politicised Biology of Irregular Migrants

Micropractices of control, tactics of everyday life and access to healthcare

Open access

Abstract

Norway provides limited healthcare for irregular migrants, partly to make the country an unattractive option for ‘would-be refugees’. Drawing on fieldwork and interviews, this article discusses the use of healthcare to regulate migration and how irregular migrants make use of different tactics (creative access, selfcare, ignoring symptoms and raison d’être) to gain access to healthcare despite legal restrictions. The migrants’ tactics are adaptations to the micropractices of control and are about a diseased and politicised biology. They illuminate ways to care or not care for the body from a marginal position. This research, then, highlights how migrants work to restore a political life against the sovereign construction of them as mere biology. While some of these tactics are ways in which migrants can survive without healthcare rights in the short run, other tactics may contest and disrupt how the government is defining and treating irregular migrants in the longer run

Allsopp, J, Chase, E & Mitchell, M 2014, ‘The tactics of time and status: young people’s experiences of building futures while subject to immigration control in Britain’, Journal of Refugee Studies, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 163-182.

Anderson, B, Gibney, MJ & Paoletti, E 2011, ‘Citizenship, deportation and the boundaries of belonging’, Citizenship Studies, vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 547-563.

Balibar, É 2003, We, the people of Europe? Reflections on transnational citizenship, Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Bendixsen, S 2015, ‘Vilkårlige rettigheter? Irregulære migranters tillit, sosiale kapital og kreative taktikker’, in Eksepsjonell velferd? Irregulære migranter i det norske velferdssamfunnet, [‘Arbitrary Rights? Irregular Migrants’ Trust, Social Capital and Creative Tactics’, In Exceptional Welfare? Irregular migrants in the Norwegian welfare society] eds. S Bendixsen, C Jacobsen & KH Søvig, Gyldendal, Oslo, pp. 184-202.

Bendixsen, S 2017, ‘Voice matters: calling for victimhood, shared humanity and citizenry of irregular migrants in Norway’, in Within and beyond citizenship. Borders, membership and belonging, eds. RG Gonzales & N Sigona, Routledge, London, pp. 185-207.

Bergens Tidende 2010, Frp vil forby legehjelp til ulovlige innvandrere [Frp will prohibit medical aid to illegal migrants]. Available from: <https://www.bt.no/nyheter/innenriks/i/BGWMl/Frp-vil-forbylegehjelp-til-ulovlige-innvandrere?spid_rel=2>. [Last accessed 17.04.2017].

Biswas, D, Kristiansen, M, Krasnik, A & Norredam, M 2011, ‘Access to healthcare and alternative health-seeking strategies among undocumented migrants in Denmark’, BMC Public Health, vol. 11, p. 560.

Brochmann, G & Hagelund, A 2005, Innvandringens velferdspolitiske konsekvenser. Nordisk kunnskapsstatus. ANP 2005, [Welfare policy implications of immigration. Nordic knowledge status] Vol. 701, Nordisk Ministrerråd, København.

Castañeda, H 2013, ‘Medical aid as protest: acts of citizenship for unauthorized im/migrants and refugees’, Citizenship Studies, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 227-240.

de Certeau, M 1984, The practice of everyday life, University of California Press, Berkeley.

de Genova, N 2002, ‘Migrant “illegality” and deportability in everyday life’, Annual Review of Anthropology, vol. 31, pp. 419-447.

Fassin, D 2009, ‘Another politics of life is possible’, Theory, Culture and Society, vol. 26, no. 5, pp. 44-60.

Foucault, M 1991, 1975. Discipline and punish: the Birth of the prison, Penguin, Harmondsworth.

Gill, N, Conlon, D, Tyler, I & Oeppen, C 2014, ‘The tactics of asylum and irregular migrant support groups: disrupting bodily, technological, and neoliberal strategies of control’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 104, no. 2, pp. 373-381, DOI:10.1080/00045608.2013.857544.

Healthcare Regulation 2011. Forskrift om rett til helse- og omsorgstjenester til personer uten fast opphold I riket (IRMhelseforskriften) 16. desember 2011 nr. 1255. («Regulation concerning the right to health and care services to people without fixed abode in the country»)

Hjelde, KH 2010, ‘Irregular migration, health and access to health services in Norway’, in Irregular migration in a Scandinavian perspective, eds. TL Thomsen, MB Jørgensen, S Meret, K Hviid & H Stenum, Shaker Publishers, Maastricht, pp. 319-340.

Karlsen, M 2015, ‘Når helsevesenet blir en del av migrasjonskontrollen – etiske og praktiske dilemmaer for helsepersonell’, in Eksepsjonell velferd? Irregulære migranter i det norske velferdssamfunnet, [‘When healthcare becomes part of migration control - ethical and practical dilemmas for health professionals’, Exceptional Welfare? Irregular migrants in the Norwegian welfare society]] eds. S Bendixsen, C Jacobsen & KH Søvig, Gyldendal, Oslo, pp. 128-145.

Knudsen, JC 1995, ‘When trust is on trial: negotiating refugee narratives’, in Mistrusting refugees, eds. EV Daniel & JC Knudsen, University of California Press, Berkley, pp. 13-35.

Lévy, F & Lieber, M 2008, ‘Northern Chinese women in Paris: the illegal immigration–prostitution nexus’, Social Science Information, vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 629-642.

Lipsky, M 1980, Street-level bureaucracy: dilemmas of the individual in public services, Russell Sage Foundation, New York.

Miklavcic, A 2011, ‘Canada’s non-status immigrants: negotiating access to healthcare and citizenship’, Medical Anthropology, vol. 30, no. 5, pp. 496-517.

Nicholls, WJ 2016, ‘Producing-resisting national borders in the United States, France and the Netherlands’, Political Geography, vol. 51, pp. 43-52.

NRK 2011, Sulter ved norske mottak [Starving at Norwegian reception centres], by Siv Sandvik. Available from: <https://www.nrk.no/ho/_sulter-ved-norske-mottak-1.7922949>. [Last accessed 20.4.2017].

Olwig, KF 2011, ‘“Integration”: migrants and refugees between Scandinavian welfare societies and family relations’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 179-196, DOI:10.1080/1369183X.2010.521327.

Ong, A 2003, Buddha in hiding: refugees, citizenship, and the new America, University of California Press, Berkeley.

Oslo Economics 2014, Evaluering av ordninger for frivillig retur. Utarbeidet for Justis- og Beredskapsdepartementet, [Evaluation of voluntary return schemes. Prepared for the Ministry of Justice and Public Security] Oslo Economics Rapport No. 27, Oslo.

Pellander, S 2018, ‘The ageing body as a bordering site: narrowing definitions of dependency for elderly family reunification in Finland’, Nordic Journal of Migration Research, vol. 8, no. 4.

Pellander, S & Horsti, K 2017, ‘Visibility in mediated borderscapes: the hunger strike of asylum seekers as an embodiment of border violence’, Political Geography.

PICUM 2010, Workpackage No. 6: The voice of undocumented migrants. Undocumented migrants’ health needs and strategies to access healthcare in 17 EU countries, Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), Brussels.

Rose, N 1999, Governing the soul: the shaping of the private self, Routledge, London.

Ryymin, T & Ludvigsen, K 2013, ‘From equality to equivalence? Norwegian health policies towards immigrants and the Sámi, 1970–2009’, Nordic Journal of Migration Research, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 10-18.

Sager, M 2018, ‘Struggles around representation and in/visibility in everyday migrant irregularity in Sweden’, Nordic Journal of Migration Research, vol. 8, no. 4.

Søvig, KH 2011, ‘Provision of health services to irregular migrants with a special focus on children’, European Journal of Health Law, vol. 18, pp. 43-54.

Søvig, KH 2013, ‘Hvorfor nekte, eller gi, irregulære immigranter tilgang til velferdsytelser?’ in Undring og erkjennelse. Festskrift til Jan Fridthjof Bernt 70 år, eds. KH Søvig, SE Schutz & Ø Rasmussen, Fagbokforlaget, Oslo, pp. 705-717.

Ticktin, M 2006, ‘Where ethics and politics meet’, American Ethnologist, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 33-49.

Van der Leun, J 2006, ‘Excluding illegal migrants in the Netherlands: between national policies and local implementation’, West European Politics, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 310-326.

Woodward, A, Howard, N & Wolffers, I 2014, ‘REVIEW. Health and access to care for undocumented migrants living in the European Union: a scoping review’, Health Policy and Planning, vol. 29, pp. 818-830.

Journal Information

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 211 211 39
PDF Downloads 201 201 35