Renzo Szkwarok: “Radical hope beyond hospitality and tolerance: embracing pro-migrant futures out of the UK’s hostile environment”

In Students by General Account

This research examines the growth of privatised immigration detention in the UK by drawing conceptual links between this local carceral geography and the wider global prison industrial complex. I contribute to an urgent academic and activist call to counter violent global border regimes. I bring to attention the pressing need for a move beyond a politics of hospitality and tolerance through advocating for the recognition and adoption of radical hope in forming pro-migrant futures. This research explores how a politics centred around conditional hospitality and tolerance inadvertently fosters an intolerant, hostile environment for marginalised communities. Through a methodology of in-depth, semi-structured interviews with people who have been detained under alleged immigration offences in the UK, this research explores their experiences of this hostility. I uniquely contrast these experiences with accounts of people who have worked within immigration detention in the UK, seeking to understand the inflection point between hospitality and hostility, tolerance and intolerance, through an understanding of the conditions under which hostility is expressed in a for-profit carceral context. I ask the question: are these acts of hostility driven by a homogenous societal anti-migrant sentiment (as a reading of Foucault (2020: 85) would suggest), or are they instead driven by the structural unavailability of adequate resources and funding within privatised immigration detention? Finally, conducting focus groups with pro-migrant, anti-detention community activists, I explore the usefulness of radical hope (Kallio et al., (2021) in generating compassionate and embracing pro-migrant futures beyond hospitality and tolerance.