Transnational Affective Circuitry: Public Information Campaigns, Affective Governmentality, and Border Enforcement

Jill M. Williams, Kate Coddington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Geographers have been central to identifying and exploring the shifting spatialities of border enforcement and how different enforcement strategies alter the geography of state sovereignty. Migration-related public information campaigns (PICs) are one strategy that has received increasing attention from geographers and social scientists more broadly in recent years. Although existing research examines the sites and spaces where PICs are distributed, as well as the affective content of their messaging, little research has examined the development of campaigns and the transnational connections that enable their deployment. This article draws on work in the fields of carceral circuitry and transnational enforcement networks to expand our understanding of affective governmentality as a transnational strategy of border governance. Based on data collected as part of a large-scale comparative study of the use of PICs by the U.S. and Australian governments, we argue that this form of affective governmentality relies on transnational circuits through which people, money, and knowledge move to enable the development and circulation of affective messaging. In doing so, we develop the concept of transnational affective circuitry to refer to the often contingent, temporary relations and connections that enable PICs to operate as a form of transnational affective governmentality aimed at hindering unauthorized migration. Our analysis illustrates the transnational connections that enable increasingly expansive and creative forms of border enforcement to emerge while also expanding the scope of examinations of affective governmentality to attend to the relations that undergird and enable this form of transnational governance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • affect
  • affective governmentality
  • border enforcement
  • circuits
  • networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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