Immigrants and the paper market: Borrowing, renting and buying identities

  • Vasta E
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Abstract

The focus of this paper is on how the state sets up discriminatory structures, how immigrants work out ways of managing those structures and how in this process they construct flexible and innovative identities. Two main issues are explored. The first is the relationship between state control and exclusion and immigrant resistance. The paper shows how, despite increased surveillance and digital nets mounted by European states to keep immigrants out of their territory, the British state is ambivalent towards irregular immigrants. At the same time, it is in the interstices of ambiguity that immigrants, by buying, renting and borrowing documents, have found ways through their networks and communities to resist or get around exclusionary and contradictory regulations. Second, the paper is concerned with the construction of innovative and flexible identities. The research reveals how immigrants occupy rebellious spaces and construct identities in difficult situations at the intersection of self and structure.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Identity
  • Immigrant resistance
  • Informal labour market
  • Irregular formality
  • Irregular immigrants
  • State surveillance

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Authors

  • Ellie Vasta

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