OELGEMOLLER, C., 2017. The illegal, the missing: An evaluation of conceptual inventions. Millennium: journal of international studies, 46 (1), pp. 24-40.
Migration Management, a regime of radical differentiation and exclusion, renders many people illegal because they violate the laws of access across geopolitical borders. Migration Management further disappears some of these illegal people outside of the external boundaries of the Global North. Recently, however, discursive moves to mobilise the concept of the ‘missing person’ in the context of illegal migration have been introduced when discussing Mediterranean migration in particular. This article offers an ethico-political evaluation of conceptual innovations. It asks if a reconceptualisation of the illegal migrant as ‘missing person’ is able to destabilise Migration Management and concludes that this is unlikely. The article illustrates how this reconceptualisation cements the more radical practices of exclusion whilst the boundary drawing is reformulated as one between dead and living migrants.
This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Millennium: Journal of International Studies and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/0305829817708812.