Dr Andonea Dickson – ‘To Detain is to Take’ – The Coerced Mobilities of Australia’s Maritime Governance

We are pleased to announce that Dr Andonea Dickson (University of London, Paris) will present her ongoing work “’To Detain Is to Take’ – The Coerced Mobilities of Australia’s Maritime Migration Governance” at our next seminar. The seminar will be held on Tuesday the 23rd of November (5 pm, AEDT). Dr Jennifer Turner (University of Oldenburg) and Dr Amy Nethery (Deakin University) will provide commentary before an open discussion.

Please register for the event here.

“To Detain Is to Take” – The Coerced Mobilities of Australia’s Maritime Migration Governance

Over the past four decades, maritime geographies have become increasingly prominent sites of policing and containing human mobility. While there is important scholarly work on these maritime spaces of migration control, there is a need for greater insight into the exclusion that is rendered through systemically keeping migrants mobile at sea. This paper explores maritime migration governance in Australia, examining the mobilities that follow interdictions at sea and their specifically coerced nature. I interrogate the High Court case, CPCF v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, which addresses the extended detention of 157 Tamil asylum seekers at sea in June 2014. Through analysing the language used in this case, such as the conclusion by the majority that “to detain” a migrant at sea mandates a concomitant duty to “to take” them somewhere else, I highlight how detention at sea in Australia has become synonymous with coerced mobility. This reveals the carcerality that informs Australia’s migration governance strategy at sea, in which detention for the purpose of return has become a sanctioned practice, as well as how exclusion in Australia’s maritime geographies is premised upon a specific strategy of keeping migrants mobile.

Dr Andonea Dickson is a lecturer at the University of London Paris. Her research focuses on migration politics, specifically interrogating the strategies of containment and exclusion that emerge in maritime geographies. Andonea recently completed her PhD at Queen Mary University of London with a thesis that examines the entanglement of the sea in methods of migration control in the Mediterranean and the proliferation of carceral practices in mobility control at sea. Her recent work has been published in Political Geography and Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space.

Dr Jennifer Turner is a human geographer whose research interests fit broadly at the intersection of cultural and political geography regarding how the contemporary penal system is integrated into British society. Jennifer is Chair of the Carceral Geography Working Group of the RGS-IBG. Her monograph, The Prison Boundary: Between Society and Carceral Space (Palgrave 2016) interrogates the notion of a hard and fast separation between the inside and outside of prison by presenting a variety of case studies that demonstrate a complex and changeable boundary relationship.

Dr Amy Nethery is Senior Lecturer in Politics and Policy Studies at Deakin University. She researches the development and impact of asylum policies in Australia and Asia, with a focus on transnational cooperation on border control. She has a particular interest in immigration detention: its history, evolution, diffusion, legal status, consistency with democratic norms, and human impact. She has published widely on these themes in journals including Political Geography, The International Journal of Human Rights and Journal of Refugee Studies. With Stephanie Silverman she edited Immigration Detention: the Migration of a Policy and its Human Impact (Routledge 2015).

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