Borders of Punishment: Criminal Justice, Citizenship and Social Exclusion

Immigration and its control are highly charged topics in contemporary policy and politics.

The Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford, in conjunction with the research project, Crime Control in the Borderlands of Europe, is conducting a two-day conference entitled ‘Borders of Punishment: Criminal Justice, Citizenship and Social Exclusion’, from 19-20 April 2012 in Oxford.

The conference aims to unpack the relationship between immigration control, citizenship and criminal justice and to connect criminological theory to migration studies and explore the intellectual resonance between the two.

It will provide an opportunity to reflect on the theoretical and methodological challenges posed by mass mobility and its control. Thematically, we wish to bring to attention legal and criminological issues posed by the increasing criminalisation of immigration. Contributors will consider how ‘traditional’ criminal justice institutions such as the criminal law, police, and prisons are being shaped and perhaps altered by immigration, as well as examine novel forms of penalty (deportation, detention facilities), which have until now seldom featured in criminological studies and textbooks.  In so doing, the conference aims to make the case that mobility and its control are matters that ought to be central to any understanding of the criminal justice system. Phenomena such as the controversial use of immigration law for the purposes of the war on terror, closed detention centres, deportation and border policing, touch upon some of the fundamental issues within criminal justice studies: What is punishment? What is crime? What should be the normative and legal foundation for criminalisation, for police suspicion, for the exclusion from the community, and for the deprivation of freedom? Who is the subject of rights within a society and what is the relevance of citizenship within criminal justice?

The conference title, The Borders of Punishment, alludes, on the one hand, to the literal activities of border control, and on the other hand, to punishment in its extended sense, where its borders become blurred and merge with various forms of migration control, deprivation of welfare and social exclusion. The conference therefore addresses not only issues pertaining to mobility as such (which may seem to be situated at the outskirts of the social), but rather touches upon phenomena which are at the heart of contemporary debates about membership and social exclusion in our globalised and increasingly diverse societies.

The conference will be of interest to those working at the intersection of criminological and migration studies as well as a broader audience within  criminology and criminal justice. The contributors represent not only the leading scholars working in this field worldwide but also reflect different approaches to questions of mobility and exclusion; there is a good cross-section of theorists, empiricists, and policy-makers. Their presentations will draw upon a range of disciplines; sociology, law, history, economics, social work to name just some.  In addition to empirical and theoretical rigorousness, which is at times lacking in the politically charged debates about migration, the presentations will provide a representative coverage of the field.

Time: 8h45 – 17h00

To register to attend, refer to

Enquiries: Mary Bosworth, E-mail: or Chris Giacomantonio, E-mail:  

For more about the conference, refer to

Event Start Date: 
Thursday, 19 April, 2012
Event End Date: 
Friday, 20 April, 2012
Event Venue: 
The Manor Road Building, Oxford, United Kingdom
Event Type: 

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