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Malta and Immigration - Sovereignty, Territory and Identity

Kårén, Björn (2008)
Department of Political Science
Abstract
In November 2001, Malta experienced the first larger arrival of irregular immigrants when a boat carrying 57 people landed on its shores. Since then, the influx of immigrants has continued which constitutes a new phenomenon for this small country situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea - it has become the destination for immigrants seeking a better life in Europe. These so-called ?boat people? arrive under difficult conditions in often un-seaworthy vessels to a small island country that historically has been one of emigration rather than immigration, and it has therefore experienced what is perceived as problems in dealing with the situation.

The aim of this thesis is to discuss and analyze the impact of increased immigration upon... (More)
In November 2001, Malta experienced the first larger arrival of irregular immigrants when a boat carrying 57 people landed on its shores. Since then, the influx of immigrants has continued which constitutes a new phenomenon for this small country situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea - it has become the destination for immigrants seeking a better life in Europe. These so-called ?boat people? arrive under difficult conditions in often un-seaworthy vessels to a small island country that historically has been one of emigration rather than immigration, and it has therefore experienced what is perceived as problems in dealing with the situation.

The aim of this thesis is to discuss and analyze the impact of increased immigration upon the Maltese state and society. By developing a theoretical understanding of political sovereignty, I will analyze (1) the way that the state has framed immigration as a problematic and how it has acted to deal with the situation on both unilateral and multilateral levels, and (2) how continued immigration triggers state responses ?internally? in terms of control measures, but also in terms of the analytical relationship between a challenged sovereignty and perceptions of territorial boundaries and national identity.

In relation to the first objective, I argue that the (liberal) Maltese state has found itself restrained by outside sources in its claim to act by externalizing immigration control both in restricting entry and in ?getting rid? of irregular immigrants who have made it into national state territory. This has prompted the government to seek forms of multilateral co-operation in various international forums - chiefly the EU, but also in the context of a developing Barcelona process - in a developing post-nation-state form of governmentality.

In relation to the second objective, I first argue that unwanted immigrants have become a constitutive part of the Maltese society through their exclusion as ?outsiders inside?. Here, I have first analyzed how the state in a claim to sovereignty has imposed internal restrictions, mainly in the form of a strict detention policy, and how this phenomenon raises questions of the relationship between state and territory. Second, I have analyzed the way in which immigration has ignited two main opposing discourses on immigration that both share the same assumption of a strong state sovereignty in the realm of immigration control, which has put the state and its actions at the centre of public attention and ignited an interest new forms of national identity and perceptions of belonging. (Less)
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author
Kårén, Björn
supervisor
organization
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Irregular immigration, Immigration policy, Sovereignty, Malta, Political and administrative sciences, Statsvetenskap, förvaltningskunskap
language
English
id
1317141
date added to LUP
2008-06-16
date last changed
2008-06-16
@misc{1317141,
  abstract     = {In November 2001, Malta experienced the first larger arrival of irregular immigrants when a boat carrying 57 people landed on its shores. Since then, the influx of immigrants has continued which constitutes a new phenomenon for this small country situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea - it has become the destination for immigrants seeking a better life in Europe. These so-called ?boat people? arrive under difficult conditions in often un-seaworthy vessels to a small island country that historically has been one of emigration rather than immigration, and it has therefore experienced what is perceived as problems in dealing with the situation.

The aim of this thesis is to discuss and analyze the impact of increased immigration upon the Maltese state and society. By developing a theoretical understanding of political sovereignty, I will analyze (1) the way that the state has framed immigration as a problematic and how it has acted to deal with the situation on both unilateral and multilateral levels, and (2) how continued immigration triggers state responses ?internally? in terms of control measures, but also in terms of the analytical relationship between a challenged sovereignty and perceptions of territorial boundaries and national identity.

In relation to the first objective, I argue that the (liberal) Maltese state has found itself restrained by outside sources in its claim to act by externalizing immigration control both in restricting entry and in ?getting rid? of irregular immigrants who have made it into national state territory. This has prompted the government to seek forms of multilateral co-operation in various international forums - chiefly the EU, but also in the context of a developing Barcelona process - in a developing post-nation-state form of governmentality.

In relation to the second objective, I first argue that unwanted immigrants have become a constitutive part of the Maltese society through their exclusion as ?outsiders inside?. Here, I have first analyzed how the state in a claim to sovereignty has imposed internal restrictions, mainly in the form of a strict detention policy, and how this phenomenon raises questions of the relationship between state and territory. Second, I have analyzed the way in which immigration has ignited two main opposing discourses on immigration that both share the same assumption of a strong state sovereignty in the realm of immigration control, which has put the state and its actions at the centre of public attention and ignited an interest new forms of national identity and perceptions of belonging.},
  author       = {Kårén, Björn},
  keyword      = {Irregular immigration,Immigration policy,Sovereignty,Malta,Political and administrative sciences,Statsvetenskap, förvaltningskunskap},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Malta and Immigration - Sovereignty, Territory and Identity},
  year         = {2008},
}