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Title: Non-compliance and the circulation of mistrust in the UK immigration system
Author: Pinkowska, Patrycja Ewa
ISNI:       0000 0004 8502 6444
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis argues that 'non-compliance' has taken an increasingly central role in the management of deportable migrants in the UK. Deemed resistance in academic writing but seen as disobedience by the authorities, non-compliance is penalised in the UK and used to justify enforcement action such as deportation. Notions of non-compliance also serve to further reify the construct of the 'disobedient migrant' within the political and public discourse. To understand decisions and acts labelled as 'non-compliant' by the authorities, this thesis draws attention to the environment in which they are made. It demonstrates the impact of the broader context, characterised by institutional hostility, a culture of disbelief, and 'messy' legal and bureaucratic systems that are complicated and often highly inconsistent or even contradictory. The thesis argues that non-compliance is a product of this environment and of the very enforcement systems used to tame the allegedly disobedient behaviour. This argument arises from ethnographic research in the Verne Immigration Removal Centre, the second biggest detention centre in the UK at the time of the research, and at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal hearing centre in Newport, where bail hearings of those detained at the Verne were held via video-link. This material was further supplemented by interviews with detention visitors, charity workers, and legal representatives. The research was multi- sited and long term; framed around the notion of deportability rather than a specific place, be it detention or tribunal. The research identified three primary themes, which form the focus of the substantive chapters of this thesis. Firstly, the 'messiness' of the environment permeated by atmospheres of mistrust is shown to inform migrants' understanding of the legal and bureaucratic system and their personal decision- making processes. Secondly, the notion of non-compliance is problematised, revealing not only its heterogeneity and the discord between the way it is understood and used by authorities and deportable migrants but also its 2 inevitability as a product of immigration bureaucracy and enforcement processes. Finally the thesis reveals that the circulation of mistrust reaches beyond those directly affected by the enforcement regime, creeping upon families and friends of those deemed deportable and marking the precarity of their belonging to the UK. This thesis offers insights into the punitive qualities of compliant environment, and cautions against simplistically labelling non-compliance as resistance. It also shows that the shift towards the compliant environment in immigration enforcement further puts the responsibility for deportability on affected non- citizens.
Supervisor: Gill, N. ; Kinsley, S. Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: non-compliance ; immigration detention ; resistance ; immigration bail