Feminist research has illustrated how ideas of the family have been central to projects of border and immigration enforcement, including practices of detention, separation, resettlement, and reunification. This work considers how discourses of family are used to categorize immigrants and refugees, determining access to or exclusion from national territory. Drawing on a comparative study of government-led public information campaigns (PICs) in the United States and Australia, we expand on this research to explore how the family is framed and mobilized in PICs to produce emotional and affective attachments intended to influence migration-related decisions. We argue that PICs function as a form of affective governmentality, working to tether potential migrants to place and render them immobile through the strategic circulation of family-based narratives and images grounded in grief, guilt, shame, and familial responsibility. In doing so, PICs obscure the geopolitical and geoeconomic complexities undergirding transnational migration by rendering migration-related decisions as individual and familial. In tracing how the family is framed and mobilized in PICs, we contribute to existing research on the family in border and immigration enforcement and theories of emotional and affective governance.
- public information campaign
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations