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The Making of Migration

The Making of Migration
The Biopolitics of Mobility at Europe’s Borders

  • Martina Tazzioli - University of Bologna, Italy, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK, Goldsmiths College, London, UK

November 2019 | 184 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

The Making of Migration addresses the rapid phenomenon that has become one of the most contentious issues in contemporary life: how are migrants governed as individual subjects and as part of groups? What are the modes of control, identification and partitions that migrants are subjected to?

Bringing together an ethnographically grounded analysis of migration, and a critical theoretical engagement with the security and humanitarian modes of governing migrants, the book pushes us to rethink notions that are central in current political theory such as “multiplicity” and subjectivity. This is an innovative and sophisticated study; deploying migration as an analytical angle for complicating and reconceptualising the emergence of collective subjects, mechanisms of individualisation, and political invisibility/visibility.

A must-read for students of Migration Studies, Political Geography, Political Theory, International Relations, and Sociology.


Chapter 1: Migrant mobs. The (un)making of migrant multiplicities
Chapter 2: Migrant singularities. Between subjectivation and desubjugation
Chapter 3: Digital multiplicities and singularities. (In)visibility and data circuits
Chapter 4: “Keeping on the move without letting pass”. Dispersal and mobility as technologies of government
Chapter 5: Migrant spatial disobediences. Collective subjectivities and the memory of struggles

The Making of Migration is a timely and extremely original book. Analyzing at the same time technologies of control and migrants’ practices of resistance it casts migration as a battleground. And it compels us to test and rethink our political vocabulary within that battleground.

Sandro Mezzadra, Associate Professor of Political Theory, the University of Bologna.

Sandro Mezzadra
Associate Professor of Political Theory, the University of Bologna.

In The Making of Migration, Martina Tazzioli invites us to truly examine how “migration and “migrants” are in fact made.  Refusing to permit the lazy complacencies of treating these as self-evident sociological categories, Tazzioli aims a sharp critical lens on the governmentalities at stake in subjecting human mobility to various forms of control and government as well as knowledge production, while simultaneously never ceasing to see the struggles of people on the move across borders as central and constitutive of the making of their own “migrant” subjectivities.  Mobility then emerges as a stake for both migrants and the border regimes invested in governing them as such.  In all of this, Tazzioli also keeps us focused on the ways that these processes of subject-making are at once individualizing and also generate various kinds of collectivities.  This book is a rich and original contribution to migration and border studies, and also a major intervention into political philosophy.


Nicholas De Genova, Professor and Chair of the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies, University of Houston. 

Nicholas De Genova
Professor and Chair of the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies, University of Houston

The Making of Migration radically shifts the analytical categories through which we understand how migration is governed. By proposing a new analytical lexicon of migrant multiplicities and singularities as different from both individuals and populations, Martina Tazzioli changes the direction of research on migration by inserting the political dimensions of subjectification-subjection and objectivation-subjectivation. Through the lens of migration, the book challenges the central categories of political thought and develops a much-needed bridge between migration studies and critical questions of power, politics and spatiality.

Claudia Aradau
Professor of International Politics, King’s College London

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