The Mechanisms of Control
People move. This is a fact, historically speaking, in most social contexts throughout the world. The reasons for moving have been and still are highly varied. Whether people move out of necessity to escape violence or persecution, whether they move for joyful purposes, or whether they change environment to improve their economic conditions and their chances in life, can broadly speaking be seen as symptoms or indicators of societal conditions: the economic viability of a society, the level of democratic development, minority politics, trust and expectations in relation to the authorities and so forth. The kind of barriers to movement prospective and actual migrants confront at various stages of a migration process is another litmus test of social processes and politics, nationally and internationally. Whether control is imposed at the place of origin, by the migrant himself/herself or at the receiving end, is a reflection of the global state of affairs at the time.
The current project deals with control policies in destination countries – more precisely in Europe in the late 1980s and the 1990s. We have selected eight receiving countries to enable a comparative analysis of the generation and implementation of immigration control policies in the late twentieth century.
Receiving countries have various preconditions for controlling immigration, and control policies have taken different forms, historically speaking. These policies are expected to satisfy social, economic and security needs for immigration regulation, without violating international treaties and conventions for asylum and human rights protection, and without violating the public sense of fair treatment of human beings. When studying immigration control in a comparative perspective, it is relevant to ask under which condition and in which ways modern nation states find it necessary to control various flows of migrants. Usually there will be both national and international parameters influencing the formation of a concrete national policy.