Choice, Constraint and Conditional Citizenship: analysing migrant homelessness within 'crimmigration' systems

Funded by Economic and Social Research Council.

Collaboration with Leiden University.

Why are borders hardening in contemporary western democracies? How is intensifying migration securitisation broadening and deepening exclusion in society? My research examines how these growing phenomena are radically transforming State regulation of migration; providing new empirical understanding of how borders are extended inward - into civil society - by investigating the lived experience of migration control, giving voice to hitherto silenced migrant groups. Through the lens of ‘crimmigration’ – the observable convergence of immigration and criminal law – my research combines socio-legal and housing studies scholarship to offer a new conceptualization of how migration control is expressed in law, public discourse and human interaction. My previous research has provided the groundwork for an ‘applied’ understanding of crimmigration by investigating how US and UK housing and welfare systems are implicated in border control. My current postdoctoral research provides additional empirical evidence of the punitive consequences of migrant status - through inclusion of the Netherlands - to examine how migrants claim citizenship rights under crimmigration control systems. ‘Choice, constraint and conditional citizenship: Analysing migrant homelessness within ‘crimmigration’ systems’ is a collaborative study with the University of Leiden (Netherlands) examining the major challenges facing migrant groups and the implications of deep social exclusion for policy and practice. The research involves a collaboration with a leading Foucauldian scholar (Dr Kim McKee from the University of Stirling) and an international expert in socio-legal studies (Prof. Maartje van der Woude from Leiden Law School).

Specifically, the study advances our understanding of emerging ‘crimmigration’ systems (the convergence of immigration and criminal law) by comparing practices between ostensibly social democratic and neoliberal welfare regimes. By embedding a critical realist approach within a ‘governmentality’ analysis, this mixed-method, interdisciplinary, approach offers a rigorous analysis of the ways in which social citizenship for migrant groups is constrained, and re-asserted, under emerging crimmigration ‘control systems’. Research findings will be presented at an international symposium on ‘crimmigration and social citizenship’ hosted by Leiden Law School in Autumn 2021.

Total award value £90,000.00

People (2)


Dr Regina Serpa

Dr Regina Serpa

Lecturer in Housing, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Dr Kim McKee

Dr Kim McKee

Senior Lecturer, Housing Studies

Outputs (6)


Book Chapter

Serpa R & Saunders E (2022) Towards an Effective Right to Housing in Scotland. In: A New Scotland: Building an Equal, Fair and Sustainable Society. London: Pluto Press, pp. 85-96.