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This article conceptualizes the term ad-hocratic immigration governance to capture how states intentionally use policy ambiguity as a tool to secure their power over immigration. It does so by analysing the flexibility, pragmatism and informality with which Moroccan and Tunisian authorities have governed immigration since the turn of the 21st century. Drawing on over 100 interviews and in-depth policy analysis, the article shows that Moroccan and Tunisian authorities have privileged executive politics, exemption regimes and case-by-case arrangements on immigration over parliamentary law-making. It demonstrates how the intentional ambiguity created by such ad-hocratic governance allowed Morocco’s monarchy and Tunisia’s young democracy to respond to external and bottom-up demands for more immigrant rights while at the same time securing the state’s margin of manoeuvre over immigration. Such theorization of ad-hocracy sheds a novel light on how immigration is governed not only across North Africa and the Middle East but also in their European neighbourhood.
Natter, K. (2021). Ad-hocratic immigration governance: how states secure their power over immigration through intentional ambiguity. Territory, Politics, Governance. https://doi.org/10.1080/21622671.2021.1877189