Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Reinscribing Migrant “Undeservingness” and “Deportability” Into Detention Centres' Visiting Rooms

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Abstract:  Despite a growing literature that addresses racial connections in detaining immigrants for deportation purposes, research on how race and race‐making operate in detention centres remains scant. This research draws on interview data collected from volunteers visiting detention facilities across the UK and bridges a Foucauldian analytics of power with a relational perspective on race and racism to explore ways in which race operates and is experienced and resisted by actors involved in everyday relations of the space. Findings illuminate everyday workings and interactional dynamics that characterise detention centres and varied interpretations of visitors about race and race‐making in those spaces of confinement. Despite differences in interpretations, visitors’ accounts commonly point to the centrality of racialising ideas of migrant “undeservingness” and “deportability” in shaping embodied, affective, and experiential realities of the visiting rooms of detention centres, and various ways in which actors resist those identifications.

Keywords:  everyday racism; immigration detention; racialisation; power



© Oyku Hazal Tural. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.