Irregular migrants, neoliberal geographies and spatial frontiers of ‘the political’

In this article I argue that the demands of irregular migrants to belong to political communities constitute key contemporary sites of ‘the political’. I also argue that geographies associated with neoliberal globalisation (transnational production circuits, special economic zones and global cities) are implicated in irregular migration flows and in new conceptions of political belonging. In relation to these claims, I reflect upon recent mobilisations in the US context, in which hundreds of thousands of irregular migrants and their supporters asserted the right to belong. I suggest that similar claims to belong are likely to proliferate and that neoliberal geographies may provide some clues as to where and how these contemporary frontiers of the political might proceed. I conclude by suggesting that a multidimensional approach to political belonging provides a sound conceptual starting point for the analytical and normative challenges raised by both the claims of non-status migrants and the sovereign practices of contemporary states.

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