Building and blurring the intimate boundaries of nation, race and geopolitics in a suburb neighbouring a UK immigration removal centre

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Abstract

Drawing on analysis of qualitative interviews with 25 residents of an affluent, highly militarised suburb neighbouring a British immigration detention centre, this article analyses how constructions of place and home interrelate with nationalist, racialised and geopolitical boundaries. The article begins by introducing the fieldwork site before discussing the centrality of feminist geopolitics frameworks to the subsequent data analysis. The findings sections
demonstrate how the centre and its detainees are routinely obscured by participants in relation to a suburb portrayed as simply ‘nice’ and homely. Analysis suggests that the mundane, everyday practices discussed by participants conceal the formation of simultaneously global, local
and intimate boundaries rooted in nationalist and geopolitical distinctions with militarised and colonial histories. These boundaries are, however, partially unobscured locally for participants in relation to questions evoking the prospect of more intimate connections with detainees, and it is only by disavowing anxieties raised by this prospect that the legitimacy of detention and feelings of
homeliness can be justified affectively and ethically. The conclusion argues that these findings are important for studies of contemporary border controls, as the same nationalist and racialised structures underpinning detention regimes are fundamentally implicated in embodied and emplaced notions of suburban homeliness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227–244
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Volume34
Issue number2
Early online date22 Sep 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

Keywords

  • Place
  • militarism
  • immigration detention
  • race
  • nationalism
  • feminist geopolitics
  • WNU

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