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In this groundbreaking ethnography, Ruben Andersson, a gifted anthropologist and journalist, travels along the clandestine migration trail from Senegal and Mali to the Spanish North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Through the voices of his informants, Andersson explores, viscerally and emphatically, how Europe’s increasingly powerful border regime meets and interacts with its target–the clandestine migrant. This vivid, rich work examines the subterranean migration flow from Africa to Europe, and shifts the focus from the “illegal immigrants” themselves to the vast industry built around their movements. This fascinating and accessible book is a must-read for anyone interested in the politics of international migration and the changing texture of global culture.
"A wonderfully readable, extremely well searched, and immensely helpful contribution to migration scholarship. It is the rare author who can combine the writer’s fluid prose with the scholar’s deep analysis, but Andersson, a post-doctoral fellow at the London School of Economics, does just that."
— César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández
"[An] impressive work of outstanding scholarship . . . highly recommended . . . a brilliant ethnography."
— Paul Mutsaers
"Ruben Andersson embarks on a needed and timely pursuit... a novel and powerful argument about Europe's southern external border."
— Elena Popa
"[The book's] contribution lies in its relentless investigation into the workings of what the author refers to as the ‘illegal migration industry’ ... its rich empirical data and the thoroughness with which the author tackles the ‘illegality industry’ provide for a strong contribution to a wider body of literature that is concerned with narratives that lie behind popular images of the migrant."
— Lucy Hovil
"A rich tapestry of oral testimony that not only makes the reading experience more enjoyable and human, but underpins an emotional and compelling argument... I would highly recommend this debut book."
— Jamie Hitchen
"A rich and lucid narrative ... accessible, creative, and highly informative."
— Thomas Kemp
"It’s the inside story of the sort of thing you read about in the newspapers all the time... It validated for me this [kind of] ethnographic research, going there, being there, burrowing in."
— Adam Kuper, Professor of Anthropology at LSE
"I was blown away by this book, it was stunning...once you have read it, you will not see migration the same way ever again."
— Beverley Skeggs, Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, London
"Best book of the year? With all the usual reservations about the virtues of each and all of everything I’ve dipped into in 2014, I’m going to go for Ruben Andersson’s Illegality, Inc. ... he brings out the ways in which awareness of borders and the relationship which the various actors have with them brings out a set of predicable roles – the border cop, the humanitarian naval guard, the calculating NGO activist, the aggrieved, indignant migrant, the camp welfare officer, right the way through to the anti-globaliser ‘no borders’ protester."
— Don Flynn
"Timely and beautifully written... Indeed, Illegality Inc. is a fascinating book, a must read not only for those interested in migration studies, but for anyone who dearly cares about the sanity of a European project – and about the way the world is governed."
— Allegra Lab