Helene O. I. Gundhus – Eurocrim 2020

Policing migration as threats: risk assessments and abnormal justice in a welfare state


Helene O.I. Gundhus, University of Oslo. Photo: UiO.

Helene O. I. Gundhus, Professor, Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law, University of Oslo (h.o.i.gundhus[at]jus.uio.no)

Abstract of paper presented at Eurocrim 2020:
In this paper I explore how the nexus of crime and migration on global and national scale are legitimizing shifts in a welfare state, which otherwise is known for promoting an inclusive society and for being restrictive in the use of penal power. Drawing on empirical research on policing migration, the aim is to unpack risk categories, and to show how constructions of (in)security rely upon the concrete power relations and global divide.

The paper explore how global dimensions and fear of the ‘crimmigrant other’ (Franko 2019) are shaping and shaped by transnational police security networks and ideas about vulnerabilities and threats. It shows that to reduce uncertainties and manage what is perceived as migration-related threats and risks, shape not only ideas of risk in policing of migration but also influence the importance of precautionary logic in regular policing.

The argument is that social and political rationalities lead to a situation where police not only are controlling crime but also producing threats, and negotiating ideas with politicians about who should be seen as vulnerable and protectable.  Shifts in discourses of who are vulnerable, are fuelled by the introduction of the preemptive logic and the abnormal practice of justice for non-citizens.