The Meaning of Detention on Life Trajectories and Self-Identities: the Perspectives of Detained Migrants in a Removal Centre in Portugal

  • Paula Cristina Sampaio
  • Isabel Estrada Carvalhais


Migrants need the consent of the host country to enter and stay in its territory as the right to “immigration” itself does not exist. States have the autonomy to regulate access to their territory with a variety of rules depending on the type of migration. One of the mechanisms of control that states use, and a means for the management of immigration, is administrative detention. This study intends to reflect on the phenomenon of detention of non-national migrants in Portugal, from the perspective of the agent. While the Portuguese legal frame may be broadly aligned with the European and the international frames and in wide compliance with the human rights’ expectations, our concern focuses on how the individual lives the experience of being institutionally and legally labelled as an irregular, deprived of freedom. The experience of dealing with deviance, which by its turn results from a condition external to the individual, is a phenomenon to which citizenship and migration studies still need to pay more attention.


Migrants Detention Deviance Trajectory Identity Irregular Agent Portugal 



The authors acknowledge the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT—Portugal) as the founding institution of the Centre of Research in Political Science (UID/CPO/00758/2013) of the University of Minho.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EEG - School of Economics and ManagementUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  2. 2.CICP—Centre of Research in Political Science, R&D unit funded by the FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e TecnologiaLisboaPortugal
  3. 3.EEG - School of Economics and ManagementUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal

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