Legitimizing policies: How policy approaches to irregular migrants are formulated and legitimized in Scandinavia

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10 Citationer (Scopus)


The focus of this article is on representations of irregular migration in a Scandinavian context and how irregular migrants are constructed as a target group. A common feature in many (Western-)European states is the difficult attempt to navigate between an urge for control and respecting, upholding and promoting humanitarian aspects of migration management. Legitimizing policies therefore become extremely important as governments have to appease national voters to remain in power and have to respect European regulations and international conventions. Doing so raises questions of social, political and economic rights, of moral obligations, of sovereignty, and of equity, as well as of how to define target groups and legal and categorical statuses into the debates. Having a backdrop in the theoretical framework of Carol Bacchi, Anne Schneider and Helen Ingram and Giorgio Agamben, this article looks at how policy problematizations and constructions of target populations guide and legitimize particular policy approaches and may end up marginalizing and excluding groups in society and ultimately become a challenge for democracy.
TidsskriftEtikk i Praksis
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)46-63
Antal sider18
StatusUdgivet - 2012


  • policy making, irregular migration, target populations, citizenship, democracy,