Policing Asylum Seekers’ Flight Within Europe

About the Subjugation of Migrant Labor Under the Dublin Regime

  • Tom Montel université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis
Keywords: Europe, Dublin Regulation, Migrant Labor, Surveillance, Schengen, European Union, autonomy of migration


A critical assessment of the Dublin regulation requires a look beyond its official function of allocating asylum seekers across EU Member States. This article argues it embodies the “hidden face” of Schengen insofar as it legally fixes them in the sole country responsible for their application. Because this responsibility lies primarily with the first country of arrival, it is consistent with the core-periphery axis of division of labor in the EU. The first part of this paper examines how the Schengen/Dublin dual regime of (im)mobility might respond to the constant need for bridled labor alongside free wage labor in the world-system. However, equally constant is labor power’s propensity to evade its subsumption under capital; this is exemplified by Dubliners’ appropriation of freedom of movement through irregularity. By deserting the “plantations” of the European peripheries, those “maroons” of our present time disrupt the European geography of power and contest their assigned position in it. But the widely acknowledged failure of this regime to deter “secondary movements” does not necessarily mean it is non-effective. Attention must then be given to mechanisms of “exclusion from within” experimented on Dubliners. The second part will offer an overview of the tactics of internal rebordering that have been recently deployed in core countries and question the extent to which those attempts to recapture their flight meet the conditions for the optimization of capital’s operations.


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How to Cite
Montel, T. (2021). Policing Asylum Seekers’ Flight Within Europe: About the Subjugation of Migrant Labor Under the Dublin Regime. Journal of World-Systems Research, 27(1), 77-108. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2021.1024
Capitalist World-Economy in Crisis: Policing, Pacification, and Legitimacy