The good migrant
in Bordering intimacy

Chapter 6 investigates how the promise of ‘inclusion’ also works to produce and shape borders. This explores how the ‘good’, familial or domesticated migrant is imagined. To do so, the chapter develops key debates on visuality to further understand how visuals (looking, imaging, being seen) are conditioned by colonial rule. Pushing forward recent work on borders and visuality, it shows how the colonial history of photography shapes border regimes in Britain such as in the hostile welcome of child refugees. In order to discover what the contemporary ‘good’ and ‘familial’ migrant looks like, the chapter explores how humanitarian approaches to the ‘refugee crisis’ in Britain and Europe have sought to photograph migrants in order to ‘humanise’ them. The ‘good’ migrant is imagined as a contributor, someone who brings ‘value’, happiness and heteronormative love into the (British) nation. The chapter shows how the politics of the included/domesticated migrant further justifies violence against ‘bad’ migrants and racialised citizens (the illegal, the terrorist, the unintegrated woman). It thus shows how humanitarianism and ‘compassionate nationalist’ projects of welcome continue to reproduce colonial hierarchies of whiteness.

Bordering intimacy

Postcolonial governance and the policing of family

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