“No One is Illegal” as a Reverse Discourse against Deportability

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After 2015, state authorities in many European countries actively stigmatised asylum-seekers and paperless, framing them as “illegal”. In Finland, this illegality discourse was countered by resistant non-citizen and citizen subjects at multiple levels. This article examines the ways in which the arguments presented in the “No one is illegal” campaign can be considered to constitute a reverse discourse in a Foucauldian sense, and how it operates in the context of deportability which maintains structural inequality and racialised hierarchies based on the logic of political exclusion/inclusion embedded in state-centric sovereignty. It demonstrates how the state's illegality discourse contributed to a strong advance of social controls but enabled the formation of a reverse discourse that helped promote non-citizens' legal and political demands. While operating within the legal–illegal binary under which non-citizens were “disqualified” by the state, simultaneously, the reverse discourse strategically challenged it by utilising shared humanity as a common category.
JulkaisuGlobal Society
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaEnnen painatusta julkaistu e-versio - 25 maaliskuuta 2022
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli


  • Monitieteinen
  • Politologia
  • Kansainvälinen politiikka


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