The Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School presents a lecture by Wiliam Walters entitled “Aeroplanes and Deportation.”

There can be no expulsion without the trains, planes, buses and ships that states use to transport deportees across borders and territories. There can be no deportation without an assortment of guards, pilots, doctors, human rights observers and other experts charged with overseeing these involuntary journeys. Yet curiously, the actual mechanisms of moving, escorting and expressing the deportee have been largely overlooked in studies of contemporary deportation. In this presentation Walters calls for studies of migration, borders and deportation to bring the authorities, practices and infrastructures of transportation more fully into the research frame. He focuses on one particular modality of deportation: removing people by aircraft. Drawing on examples from the UK experience, Walters map some key features of what he calls “air deportation”. Walters argues that this mapping does more than merely fill in a missing piece of the puzzle. It also offers theoretical insight concerning two aspects of the politics of expulsion: the place of corporeality in the power relations of forced movement, and the complex play of visibility and invisibility that characterizes migration control as well as its contestation.

William Walters is a professor of political sociology at Carleton University, Canada, where he is cross-appointed in the Departments of Political Science and Sociology & Anthropology. His areas of interest are contemporary political and spatial theory, especially the political thought of Michel Foucault; studies of citizenship and non-citizenship; borders, migration and security research; and the politics of publics and secrecy. He is co-editor of the book series Mobility & Politics (Palgrave Macmillan). His most recent book is Governmentality: Critical Encounters (Routledge 2012), the Japanese translation of which is forthcoming in 2016.