The 2015 Law and Society Association Conference



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Post by Sarah Turnbull, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SL_Turnbull.

This year’s annual Law and Society Association (LSA) conference, ‘Law’s Promise and Law's Pathos in the Global North and Global South,’ held in Seattle, Washington, on 28 to 31 May 2015, offered an excellent program with many panels related to the themes of citizenship, migration, and border control across a range of jurisdictions in the context of law, criminology, and sociolegal studies. Indeed, the Collaborative Research Network (CRN02) of the LSA on Citizenship and Immigration, convened by Marjorie Zatz (Arizona State University), Jamie Longazael (University of Dayton), and Maartje van der Woude (University of Leiden), featured a remarkable number of panels (17!) exploring these themes.

In one of these CRN02 sessions, ‘“We the people of Europe?”: How the Remaking of Borders is Remaking Europe (Part 2), Ines Hasselberg and I co-presented a draft paper in which we’re exploring the carceral trajectories of male foreign-national prisoners in the United Kingdom. Drawing on our respective research projects here at Border Criminologies, the paper considers the lived experiences of confinement across two carceral sites, prison and immigration detention. Our presentation focused on how the intertwined practices of imprisonment and detention coalesce within the UK ‘deportation regime’ and change the character and experience of confinement for convicted men who aren’t British citizens.

Seattle's iconic Space Needle. (Photo: S. Turnbull)
The panel also included presentations by: Joanne van der Leun (University of Leiden) on the complexities of municipality-level migration control in the Netherlands; Patrick van Berlo (University of Leiden) regarding the privatisation and outsourcing of ‘crimmigration’ control, including detection, at the borderlands of Europe; Katie Cruz (Keele University) on the problematic frame of ‘trafficking’ as the primary way in which states understand migrant sex work; and Annalisa Lendaro (French National Center for Scientific Research) on the topic of migrants’ mobilisations and protests in Lampedusa, Italy.

The other CRN02 panels focused on key ongoing and emerging areas of scholarship, including: the parallels between mass incarceration and mass deportation in the US context, the use of risk assessments in immigration detention, state techniques of immigration control, and (im)migrant activism and organising.

It was great to see other members of the Border Criminologies network at the conference presenting their work. Vanessa Barker (Stockholm University) provided a critical analysis of how increased border control is changing fundamental aspects of criminal justice systems across Europe, thereby posing problems for our understanding of European penality and the European project more generally. Drawing on research from her new book Punish and Expel: Border Control, Nationalism, and the New Purpose of the Prison (Oxford University Press, 2015), Emma Kaufman (Yale Law School) discussed how the priorities of border control are being transported into US prisons for foreign nationals and thus challenging the traditional purposes of the prison and punishment. Tanya Golash-Boza’s (University of California, Merced) presentation focused on issues of race and deportation based on her research with Jamaican and Dominican deportees. Maria João Guia (University of Coimbra) commented on issues of inclusion and exclusion of migrants in the European Union, particularly in relation to the dichotomy of European citizen/third country national.

Local commentary from Seattle on a building near the LSA conference site. (Photo: S. Turnbull)
Several members of Border Criminologies’ advisory group were also in attendance at the LSA. Susan Coutin (University of California, Irvine) presented a paper on the identity documents that Salvadoran migrants use and create to travel to the US and seek legal residency. She also participated in a ‘Methods Café’ session on ethnography. The presentation by Juliet Stumpf (Lewis & Clark Law School) explored how pressures for legal change in immigration law in the US have resulted in ‘liminal law’―that is, structures and processes that operate as law but are merely law-like.

For more on specific panel sessions, see Border Criminologies’ Twitter coverage of the LSA via Storify.

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How to cite this blog post (Harvard style):

Turnbull, S. (2015) The 2015 Law and Society Association Conference. Available at: (Accessed [date]).

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