Policing the Virtual Border: Punitive Preemption in Australian Offshore Migration Control

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The policing of global mobility occupies a pivotal space at the intersection of numerous global trends. The imperative to cross borders, whether "voluntary," "forced," or somewhere in between, is emblematic of changes associated with an increasingly ungoverned global economy, and an unstable and grossly unequal global order. At the same time, as if to compensate for their ca? pitulation to transnational corporate power, neoliberal governments have adopted a defensive political nationalism and sought to reassert their sovereignty through strict, yet highly selective, border controls (Sassen, 1996). This discussion will analyze border control measures that extend Australia's border outwards to preempt the arrival of asylum-seekers and other illegalized travelers. Rather than attempt a systematic survey, I concentrate on three examples: interceptions of "inadequately documented passengers" by overseas liaison officers in countries of transit; military interdiction of "suspected unlawful non-citizens" at sea; and the manipulation of the location of borders in time and space to preempt the arrival of "offshore entry persons."
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-93
Number of pages26
JournalSocial Justice: a journal of crime, conflict and world order
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


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