Annika Lindberg
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in Deportation limbo


This book is a piece of collective work, the outcome of so many conversations and exchanges, shared frustrations, and struggles. Rather than an end product, I prefer to see the book as a part of collective thought-work in progress (although responsibility for what is between its covers is solely mine). The book is dedicated to all the remarkable people who have partaken in these collective processes, without whom the book would not have been written. I am thankful to Lisa Borrelli, who ever since we met has been an inspirational force, whose friendship has helped me think and write better, laugh more, and, when necessary, get over myself. Anna Wyss has always provided sharp and healthily sceptical comments on my writing, but has also been there through the difficult conversations on border atrocities and what researching them does to us. Shahram Khosravi was the person whose work motivated me to get into research in the first place. His writing and thinking on borders and deportation regimes, but also on what it means to be in the academic world, and the importance of looking beyond it, remains a great inspiration to me. I am thankful for his mentorship during my doctoral research, and for his encouraging involvement in this manuscript. My warm thanks to Julia Suárez-Krabbe, who has challenged and expanded my understanding of this field and who through our conversations and collaborative work has shown me how research can be done differently. And, to Steve Nwaogu Stanley, for all I have learnt from his brilliant, critical analysis of borders, from our writing, and working together, and from our friendship.

I met Steve in Sjælsmark deportation camp in 2016, and this work is indebted to the sharp analyses and courageous struggles waged by him, Baba, Naser, and the others involved in Castaway Souls to challenge the Danish deportation system. Moreover, to the efforts of Aya Jilani, with her determination to challenge the deportation regime with community and friendship; and to all those movements and communities who tirelessly organise against deportations in the Danish camps, in detention centres, and on the streets in Denmark and Sweden, and throughout Europe. I also wish to thank the state institutions, the non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and the individual frontline officials who agreed to talk to me, share their concerns, and let me hang around in their workplaces. I thank them for enduring my endless questions, and for sharing moments of frustration and disagreement, and I hope that my presence has not deterred them from remaining open to critical research in the future.

I wish to thank Manchester University Press for believing in this manuscript, and for patiently guiding me through the editorial process. Thanks to the anonymous reviewers for investing their time in providing critical feedback that made the book better, and to Ingrid Bobo Lindberg, Katarina Arnold, and Celia Aijmer Rydsjö for proofreading the manuscript and for putting full stops in my never-ending sentences.

This book builds on the intellectual labour of many brilliant scholars, some of whom are cited extensively in the book, while others have contributed in ways that go way beyond citations. These include friends and colleagues who have provided input on the research and manuscript, but even more so, those whose friendship has seen me through the good and bad days of research and writing. The book project began with my dissertation research at the University of Bern, where my appreciation goes out to Vera Truong Dinh, Irina Ciornei, Graham Hill, Tornike Metreveli, Nathalie Bardill, and others at the sociology institute for being superb friends to have as colleagues; and to Tobias Eule and Christian Joppke who supervised the PhD project. I am thankful to all the critical scholars I have met during research visits, at conferences, and during fieldwork: to Ilan Amit, Katarina Rozakou, Ioana Vrăbiescu, Victoria Canning, Francesca Esposito, Nora Stel, Maayan Ravid, Sarah Hughes, Mike Rowe, Barak Kalir, Catherine Besteman, and Mary Bosworth, who have read parts of the book manuscript and provided me with invaluable suggestions and words of encouragement. I especially wish to thank the research team at the Centre for Advanced Migration Studies, University of Copenhagen, and the marvellous friends who helped me get up each morning during the COVID-19 pandemic: Cecilie Odgaard-Jakobsen, Mirjam Wajsberg, Sif Lehman, and Tess Skadegård-Thorsen. I am also grateful for the inspiration and input I have received during conversations with Aino Korvensyrjä, Jukka Könönen, Mahmoud Keshavarz, Melanie Griffiths, Nick Gill, Amanda Schmid-Scott, Patrycja Pinkowska, Livia Johannesson, Daniel Hedlund, Sofia Häythiö, Michala Clante Bendixen, Thomas Elsted, Fedaa Sultan, Anna Lundberg, and Carolina Sanchez Boe; and for the colleagues and friends who I feel privileged to work with at the University of Gothenburg today, including Anja Franck, Sarah Philipsson-Isaac, Joseph Anderson, Avie Azis, Jessie Jern, and Alexandra Bousiou. Many of these people are engaged in the issues discussed in this book in ways that go way beyond the narrow confines of the so-called academic profession. They work within contexts where border and deportation politics are becoming more repressive, where employment is precarious (or non-existing), and where research and social engagements in this field are becoming increasingly – and negatively – politicised. I am thankful for their continuous work to challenge border violence, and for how they demonstrate that other ways of thinking and being in the world are possible.

Above all, I wish to thank my family and friends (categories which I cannot neatly separate). I am eternally grateful to Ida, Jonas, and Max Nilsson Ellemand, who have been my second family and home throughout so much of the research process. For the wit and wisdom of Nakima Ackerhans Schreiber, who always helped me ground myself, and to Andrea Andersson, Amanda Leissner, Julia Flückiger, Sofia Axelsson, Sara Holmberg, Sidsel Stausholm Andersen, Carolina Kihlström, and Emilia Rozsa Fredriksson. To Amin Parsa, for his brilliance, encouragement, and warmth, and for how our conversations have sharpened and expanded my thinking about this research field, about this world we are sharing, and most importantly, for embodying all that is loveable about it. And to my parents, Bobo and Bo Lindberg, for their unrelenting support and for believing in me, always.

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Deportation limbo

State violence and contestations in the Nordics


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