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Production of ignorance and co-production of resistance: Britain’s Hostile Environment

Willmington, Elizabeth 2022. Production of ignorance and co-production of resistance: Britain’s Hostile Environment. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Britain believes itself to be an open and tolerant country to migrants and refugees both now, and in the past. This thesis demonstrates how the immigration laws and policies themselves tell a different story. Contextualising the hostile environment in an understanding of Britain’s colonial history can ground and support challenges to persistent colonialities. Because these colonialities are denied they maintain systems of ignorance and a persistent belief in the innocence of the law. This thesis is organised in two halves, each of which adopts a different approach. The first half takes a broadly historical and international approach to understanding how UK immigration laws create and sustain processes of mobility, categorisation and segregation. Through these chapters techniques of fencing off and bordering are documented to demonstrate how unknowing and silence around violence and difference are produced and continually reproduced. The second half builds on this historical and conceptual grounding to demonstrate how contemporary migration controls build on, and are continuations of, practices developed throughout the colonial era – both material and conceptual. Following my analysis of the production of ignorance, I examine its counterpart: the co-production of resistance. By employing a method of co-production I show how The Hostile Environment Walking Tour, which I produced in 2018, identified collaborative aspects of the hostile environment and understood them as spaces of accountability. This, it is argued, could weaken instances of implementation that are essential to its success and reframe them as opportunities of resistance and solidarity. It does this in two ways. It considered how participatory art practices can unpick, expose and pierce dominant narratives in the context of the hostile environment. It also suggests how participatory art practices can challenge acceptance and ignorance of, and apathy towards, the hostile environment and the harm it inflicts on people who are miss-documented and undocumented, through their exclusion from everyday society.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > KD England and Wales
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hostile Environment – immigration – ignorance – accountability – resistance – British empire – colonialism – racism – segregation – migration control – Immigration Act 2014 – Immigration Act 2016 – critical thinking – creative resistance – participatory art
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 July 2022
Date of Acceptance: 27 July 2022
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2022 09:04

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