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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg February 26, 2021

The Production of Precarity in Denmark’s Asylum Regime

Annika Lindberg


The special issue discusses the intersections between social welfare and migration control, as well as how stratified access to welfare services is used to govern ‘unwanted’ groups. This article explores these intersections in Denmark’ deterrence-oriented asylum policy regime, analysing the discourses and practices whereby people seeking protection are constructed as ‘undeserving’ poor. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in different sites of enforcement of Denmark’s asylum regime as well as interviews with street-level workers and people who sought asylum in Denmark, I trace how the Danish deterrence approach operates through the production of poverty and precarity among people seeking protection in asylum reception camps, deportation-oriented integration programmes, and finally, deportation camps. I show how the Danish welfare state, as a result of the merging of external and internal bordering practices, produces a condition of precarity and (non)deportability that extends from the asylum camps to those awarded temporary protection status. Hence, while the deterrence-oriented Danish policy regime has not proven ‘effective’ from the point of view of immigration control, it has served to reinforced a dualised, hierarchically ordered welfare rights’ regime that gradually erodes the rights and life opportunities of unwanted noncitizen ‘others’.


This research was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no. 188255). I wish to thank Lisa Marie Borrelli and Yann Bochsler, as well as the contributors to the special issue and the anonymous reviewers for their sharp and constructive comments. Moreover, Mahmoud al-Tamir, for his insightful comments to the content of this article.


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Published Online: 2021-02-26
Published in Print: 2020-12-16

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