Migrants are increasingly categorized with different ‘statuses’ – that is, classified, quantified, coded and placed into hierarchies that are politically and socially determined and have embodied and material effects. However, scholarly critiques of status often remain focused on legal descriptors and dichotomous categories such as refugee/migrant or legal/illegal. Drawing on multiple examples from media and scholarly literature on contemporary Australian migration, I seek to show how diverse and complex forms of migrant status are ‘made’ in relation to both voluntary and involuntary migrant mobilities – that is, how they are produced, contested and contestable across fluid legal, political, social and cultural lines. In doing so, I argue that a critical sociological orientation towards ‘status-making’, rather than uncritical categorizing of migrants into ‘types’, may be conceptually useful in contexts of immigration complexity.
SOURCE: Shanthi Robertson. “Status-making: Rethinking migrant categorization.” Journal of Sociology, August 13, 2018.
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