Between legality and legitimacy: The courtroom as a site of resistance in the criminalization of migration
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPunishment & Society. 2021, (1-20). https://doi.org/10.1177/1462474521996815
The criminalization of migration-related acts, rather than simply strengthening state authority, also represents a risk of exposing legal legitimacy deficits. By drawing on juridical analysis of court judgements, legal documents, and case law, together with ethnographic observation in court and analysis of media coverage, the article argues for acknowledging the extra-legal aspects of criminalization. By employing the concept of legal consciousness, we bring attention to how bordering processes are challenged from below by using the courtroom to expose potential legitimacy deficits concerning crimmigration enforcement. The article shows how the courtroom is not merely a place for convictions but also a site for resistance and social mobilization: a platform that may give marginalized groups voice and visibility, invoking a complex picture of state power, involving the ability to use force as well as reluctance and ambivalence connected to the questionable legitimacy of criminalization strategies.