This chapter locates the origins of migration law in the early vagrancy acts, which purported to control the mobility of the poor within states. It illustrates the parallels between the master–servant relation, indentured servitude, and contemporary migration control. In addition, it explores affinities between the historical figure of the ‘vagrant’ and contemporary ‘benefit claimant’, and how concerns about social disorder recur in contemporary migration debates. The chapter reminds us that the figure of the ‘migrant’ should be questioned in order to identify the propensity for migration law to become hostage to concerns about poverty, disorder, and control. It also identifies how concerns about certain forms of ‘unfree labour’ have a long history of being institutionalized so as to rationalize exclusion of certain migrants.
|Title of host publication||Migrants at Work|
|Subtitle of host publication||Immigration and Vulnerability in Labour Law|
|Editors||Cathryn Costello, Mark Freedland|
|Place of Publication||Corby|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Number of pages||15|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
- SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship
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- Migration Mobilities Bristol
- School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies - Professor of Migration, Mobilities and Citizenship
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