Living Without Rights: Undocumented Migrants and the Boundaries of Citizenship

Funding source

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2009
Funding: 1880000 SEK


In Europe as on other continents, there is today a growing number of undocumented migrants seeking incomes for themselves and their families, through their remittances also contributing to the national economies of their countries of origin. Undocumented workers play an important economic role in the migrant receiving countries as well, since their cheap and flexible labour is in high demand in various sectors. The last few years, the presence of undocumented migrants has been increasingly debated also in Sweden, commonly addressing their position without rights in Swedish society.The present study aims to provide an anthropological analysis of how the “illegal” status of undocumented migrants brings out the conflict between on the one hand, principles of state sovereignty, citizenship and the formation of demos and, on the other, the notion of universal principles of human rights and democratic political participation.The project will investigate to what extent undocumented migrants, in spite of their condition of exposed vulnerability, wish and are able to create spheres through which they constitute themselves as social and political participants in a Swedish society of which they are de-facto members but formally excluded from.The study will be based on fieldwork among migrants from Latin America residing in the Stockholm region.

Last updated on 2017-29-03 at 17:13