Centrality of Coercion in the Governmentality of the Deportation Process: A Comparative Perspective Based on the French, Swiss and Turkish Cases

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Ibrahim SOYSÜREN, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Mihaela NEDELCU, University of Neuchâtel, Institut of Sociology, Switzerland
“Voluntary return” has been put forward and has been presented as a counterpart to “forced return.” However, based on two qualitative comparative research projects on the deportation of foreigners (one on France, Switzerland and Turkey and another on France and Switzerland), funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, we will show the centrality of the coercion when foreigners are deported “voluntarily” or not.

Even though “voluntary return” is highlighted in the studied countries, in practice, they make a concomitant use of incitement and coercion to pressure unwanted foreigners to leave the country. Therefore, there is a mixture of incentive and coercive measures used to different degrees depending on the case and the context. This mixture can be considered as the basis of the governmentality (Foucault, 1994) of the deportation of foreigners. Moreover, although some tools created to deport foreigners may be considered as incentives per se, their uses may be different. For example, when return assistance is proposed to foreigners, they are told that if they refuse, they will be deported by force.

Despite variations in our findings regarding the use of incentive and coercive tools in studied countries, our research shows that coercion is central to the deportation process. This centrality comes, overall, from the fact that deportation without coercion seems almost unthinkable for states because of the fact that coercion is inherent to the deportation process.

In our paper, firstly, we will show how coercion is used directly and indirectly by various institutions of the studied countries, mainly, on the basis of analysis of legal texts, official reports, semi-directed interviews as well as participant observation. Then, we will mobilise the concept of governmentality in order to analyse the centrality of coercion and its indirect use in the deportation processes of these countries and compare them.