Precarious Inclusion as a Strategy of Government

Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

691 Barrows Hall, U.C. Berkeley
Location is ADA accessible

Precarious Inclusion as a Strategy of Government: Irregular migration and the Norwegian welfare state

Discussant: Cybelle Fox, Professor of Sociology, U.C. Berkeley

Speaker: Marry-Anne Karlsen, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Research and head of interdisciplinary research on international migration and ethnic relations (IMER Bergen), University of Bergen, Norway

To what extent and how can those excluded from membership in the welfare state, but who are still present within its territorial borders, be lives to be cared for? How is the decision to care for certain lives made? What role do front line service providers play in (re)producing, defining, and negotiating state borders?

The growing presence within welfare states of populations without legal authorization to stay raises urgent and troubling questions about state sovereignty, borders and the valorisation of life in times of migration. Over the past decades, European states have increasingly limited irregular migrants’ access to welfare services in order to encourage them to leave autonomously. Yet, irregular migrants still tend to have access to certain basic services, although frequently of a subordinate, arbitrary, and unstable kind. This presentation will explore ambiguities in the Norwegian state’s response to irregular migration arising from the interaction and tension between welfare policy and entry control. Norway, with its specific combination of a comprehensive and ambitious welfare state based on egalitarian notions of justice, humanitarian image, and strict immigration policies, provides an interesting, although not unique, context for examining the interplay between the geopolitical management of territory and the biopolitical management of populations.


Lunch will be provided. Please respond with your lunch selection by Friday, November 9th.

To request a copy of Marry-Anne Karlsen’s paper before this presentation, please contact:


Marry-Anne Karlsen is a postdoctoral fellow at Centre for Women’s and Gender Research at the University of Bergen, Norway, and she heads the interdisciplinary research unit on international migration and ethnic relations (IMER Bergen) at the same university. She has a background in human geography and social anthropology, and her research interests includes state sovereignty, spatial and temporal bordering practices, irregular migration, and gender. Her postdoctoral fellowship is part of a three-year research project called Waiting for an uncertain future: the temporalities of irregular migration (WAIT). The project investigates how temporal structures related to irregular migration are shaped by legal regimes, cultural norms and power relationships, and how they shape subjective experiences and life projects. She is also currently working on a book project on the interplay between practices of care and the production and maintenance of state borders in Norway.

Cybelle Fox received a B.A. in history and economics from UC San Diego in 1997 and a Ph.D. in sociology and social policy from Harvard University in 2007. Her main research interests include race and ethnic relations, the American welfare state, immigration, historical sociology, and political sociology. Her most recent book, Three Worlds of Relief (Princeton University Press, 2012), compares the incorporation of blacks, Mexicans, and European immigrants in the American welfare system from the Progressive Era to the New Deal. Fox won six book awards for Three Worlds of Relief, including the 2012 C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems. Her next book project focuses on the rise of citizenship and legal status restrictions in American social welfare policy from the New Deal to the present. Her work has appeared in the American Behavioral ScientistAmerican Journal of SociologyJournal of American History, Social Forces, Sociology of EducationPolitical Science Quarterly, and Sociological Methods and Research. She is also co-author of Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings (Basic Books, 2004).


Co-sponsored by:
Department of Scandinavian, Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative


This talk is produced by the Native/Immigrant/Refugee: Crossings Research Initiative, which is supported by Critical Refugee Studies, the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, the Institute of International Studies, Social Science Matrix, and the Peder Sather Center for Advanced Study.


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