The Exceptional Becomes Everyday: Border Control, Attrition and Exclusion from Within



Serpa RC (2021) The Exceptional Becomes Everyday: Border Control, Attrition and Exclusion from Within. Social Sciences, 10 (9), Art. No.: 329.

This article examines processes of migration and border control, illustrating the ways by which everyday housing and welfare services function as mechanisms of exclusion in both direct and indirect ways. Using the thesis of crimmigration, the article demonstrates how border controls have become deeply implicated in systems claiming to offer welfare support—and how a global public health emergency has intensified exclusionary processes and normalised restrictive practices. The article compares border controls in two localities—under the UK government’s coercive ‘hostile environment’ policies (based on technologies of surveillance) and a more indirect ‘programme of discouragement’ in The Netherlands (based on technologies of attrition). The study demonstrates the role of contemporary welfare states in entrenching inequality and social exclusion (from within), arguing that the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic have facilitated the differential everyday treatment of migrants, revealing a hierarchy of human worth through strategies of surveillance and attrition.

COVID-19; welfare; crimmigration; exclusion; surveillance; attrition

Social Sciences: Volume 10, Issue 9

FundersESRC Economic and Social Research Council
Publication date30/09/2021
Publication date online04/09/2021
Date accepted by journal03/09/2021

People (1)


Dr Regina Serpa

Dr Regina Serpa

Lecturer in Housing, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Projects (1)