Sarah Horton

Grant Type

Conference Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Colorado, Denver, U. of

Grant number

Gr. CONF-731

Approve Date

September 1, 2016

Project Title

Horton, Dr. Sarah, U. of Colorado, Denver, CO - To aid workshop on 'Migrants and Documents: A View of the Nation-State from Below,' 2017, Denver, in collaboration with Dr. Josiah Heyman

Preliminary abstract: Across the Global North, the proliferation of temporary legal statuses has profound yet unexplored consequences for the relationship between migrants and government bureaucracies. Because migrants must request frequent renewals and meet a battery of requirements to prolong their liminal legal statuses, these temporary statuses subject migrants to intensified processes of bureaucratic surveillance in exchange for legal recognition. Yet while many social scientists have frequently focused on the diminished rights entailed by these temporary legal statuses, they have largely neglected their implications for migrants’ relationship to federal, state, and local bureaucracies, the paper trails they produce, and the effects on migrant subjectivities and practices. This three-day workshop will bring together anthropologists studying processes of bureaucratic inscription in varied locales in the Global North along with other three other social scientists to examine the implications of these new bureaucratic dynamics for migrants, their relationships with bureaucracies, and their view of the nation-state. We examine how migrants, the advocacy groups who serve them, and the street-level bureaucrats who receive them interpret and engage with the legal evidence migrants present them. While other anthropological scholarship examines the forms that the nation-state takes in marginal locations (Das 2006; Poole and Das 2004), no scholarship to date examines the implications of the growing number of provisional legal statuses for migrants’ relationship with the nation-state. In analyzing the power dynamic between migrants and governments via the lens of documentation, we depart from the traditional top-down analyses of changes in immigration control in the Global North.