“We have nothing to hide”: Legitimacy narratives, researcher positionality and the ethics of accessing the Dutch deportation apparatus

  • 2022•10•15

    Laura Cleton

    Published in International Migration

    This article presents a reflection on the contentious access negotiations involved in researching the Dutch deportation apparatus. Previous studies described how hostility towards researchers and the opacity within migration control regimes more generally lead to difficulties for conducting academic research. This article instead relies on a self-reflexive account of two successful access negotiations to question what acquiring access tells us about the workings of migration control, and what consequences entering into a relationship with powerful actors has for academic knowledge production. I argue that granting access as such serves an important function for the deportation apparatus, as it helps to legitimise state power and assert their moral authority. By selectively facilitating access and enabling scrutiny by researchers, journalists and the wider public, I argue that the deportation apparatus strategically performs transparency and “voluntary accountability.”

    Read more.