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The Exercise of Power in a Closed Institution - Case of a Swedish Immigration Detention Centre.

Grabowska, Ewa LU (2016) SOCM02 20142
Sociology
Abstract
The aim of this sociological study is to explore and to understand mechanisms of power being embedded in daily procedures of detention establishment with the focus on the case officers’ work tasks. In the study the emic approach is being used in order to understand from within power at detention. Observations, field notes, interviews and written documents constitute the empirical material being collected. Observations took place during the five month long working experience as an officer at a Swedish immigration detention centre. In connection with observations field notes were taken. In-depth interviews with seven case officers were conducted. Moreover, written documents originating from the Swedish Migration Agency were obtained. In... (More)
The aim of this sociological study is to explore and to understand mechanisms of power being embedded in daily procedures of detention establishment with the focus on the case officers’ work tasks. In the study the emic approach is being used in order to understand from within power at detention. Observations, field notes, interviews and written documents constitute the empirical material being collected. Observations took place during the five month long working experience as an officer at a Swedish immigration detention centre. In connection with observations field notes were taken. In-depth interviews with seven case officers were conducted. Moreover, written documents originating from the Swedish Migration Agency were obtained. In order to analyze the findings, theoretical framework consisting of Foucault’s concept of power and Weber’s ideas on bureaucracy are being applied. As result of the analysis, the following themes are specified. Firstly, visibility is stressed and emphasis is put on the physical environment and daily routines. Next, double role of civil servants is being underlined and specifically their contradictory function as bureaucrats and social workers. Lastly, interaction between the staff and detainees is being highlighted, and the meaning of interaction for maintaining security at detention and striving to achieve higher numbers of co-operation with the Swedish Migration Agency.
Results of the study confirm the knowledge generated by the previous research and point at the “subtle manner” of power implementation at detention. The architectural purpose of detention aims at exposing detainees to the objectifying gaze of the officers. Techniques of power, often described as tools by detention officers, are being embedded in daily routines. Control is also being exercised through various administrative implements. The everyday interaction between the staff and detainees is being influenced by the rationality of the government. Developing relations is aiming to achieve the governmental means such as the increased amount of voluntary returns. Here, bureaucracy is being employed in order to enforce the governmental means in an efficient and organized way. (Less)
Popular Abstract
The author, Ewa Grabowska, investigates in her sociological study mechanisms of power at a Swedish immigration detention centre. In the research, the perspective of detention officers is being emphasized. The empirical material consists of interviews with detention officers and field notes taken in connection with observations as well as of written documents originating from the Swedish Migration Agency. The author looks at the gathered material through the lens of Foucault’s and Weber’s theories on power. The results show that power at detention is being embedded in various ways. The architecture of detention facility aims at making detainees visible. During daily routines, detainees become constantly observed and controlled by the staff.... (More)
The author, Ewa Grabowska, investigates in her sociological study mechanisms of power at a Swedish immigration detention centre. In the research, the perspective of detention officers is being emphasized. The empirical material consists of interviews with detention officers and field notes taken in connection with observations as well as of written documents originating from the Swedish Migration Agency. The author looks at the gathered material through the lens of Foucault’s and Weber’s theories on power. The results show that power at detention is being embedded in various ways. The architecture of detention facility aims at making detainees visible. During daily routines, detainees become constantly observed and controlled by the staff. Detention officers develop various strategies in order to cope with their assignments that encompass both the administrative and social tasks. Interaction between the officers and detainees plays an important role at immigration detention since power is being intertwined with conversations. As result of daily conversations, safety and co-operation with the Swedish Migration Agency are being increased. It is to be stated in the study that power at detention is not easily delineated since it is embedded in various tools used by detention officers in their everyday work. Bureaucracy is to be seen as an efficient way of implementing the governmental goals. Power being exercised at detention is thus to be understood as influenced by the government. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Grabowska, Ewa LU
supervisor
organization
course
SOCM02 20142
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
immigration detention centre, detention officers, civil servants, administrative detention, bureaucracy, the Swedish Migration Agency
language
English
id
8777496
date added to LUP
2016-03-03 12:29:58
date last changed
2016-03-03 12:29:58
@misc{8777496,
  abstract     = {The aim of this sociological study is to explore and to understand mechanisms of power being embedded in daily procedures of detention establishment with the focus on the case officers’ work tasks. In the study the emic approach is being used in order to understand from within power at detention. Observations, field notes, interviews and written documents constitute the empirical material being collected. Observations took place during the five month long working experience as an officer at a Swedish immigration detention centre. In connection with observations field notes were taken. In-depth interviews with seven case officers were conducted. Moreover, written documents originating from the Swedish Migration Agency were obtained. In order to analyze the findings, theoretical framework consisting of Foucault’s concept of power and Weber’s ideas on bureaucracy are being applied. As result of the analysis, the following themes are specified. Firstly, visibility is stressed and emphasis is put on the physical environment and daily routines. Next, double role of civil servants is being underlined and specifically their contradictory function as bureaucrats and social workers. Lastly, interaction between the staff and detainees is being highlighted, and the meaning of interaction for maintaining security at detention and striving to achieve higher numbers of co-operation with the Swedish Migration Agency. 
Results of the study confirm the knowledge generated by the previous research and point at the “subtle manner” of power implementation at detention. The architectural purpose of detention aims at exposing detainees to the objectifying gaze of the officers. Techniques of power, often described as tools by detention officers, are being embedded in daily routines. Control is also being exercised through various administrative implements. The everyday interaction between the staff and detainees is being influenced by the rationality of the government. Developing relations is aiming to achieve the governmental means such as the increased amount of voluntary returns. Here, bureaucracy is being employed in order to enforce the governmental means in an efficient and organized way.},
  author       = {Grabowska, Ewa},
  keyword      = {immigration detention centre,detention officers,civil servants,administrative detention,bureaucracy,the Swedish Migration Agency},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Exercise of Power in a Closed Institution - Case of a Swedish Immigration Detention Centre.},
  year         = {2016},
}