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Refuge, governmentality and citizenship: capturing 'illegal migrants' in Malaysia and Thailand

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This article directs attention to dynamics of refuge and governmentality in a region of the 'global South', South-East Asia, and brings into focus the major recipients of (forced) migrants, Malaysia and Thailand, neither of which is a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, or the 1967 Protocol. Against the backdrop of the illuminating contrast offered by the Thai case, this article argues that, in the case of Malaysia, the mobilization of 'volunteers of the nation' in campaigns against 'illegal migrants' serves as a performative (re)enactment of ethnic identity and national citizenship in the making of Malays and Malaysians in this postcolonial 'plural society'. The article explores the wider consequences of the (re)production of (il)legality and identity as a social reality experienced not merely by (forced) migrants, and not only at the border, but also by government officials and national citizens actively mobilized in high-profile campaigns to flush out 'illegal migrants' from markets, construction and plantation sites, as well as dwellings in kampong neighbourhoods, city blocks and jungle sites across Malaysia.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/25263/

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