“Immigrants as Detainees”: Some Reflections Based on Abyssal Thinking and Other Critical Approaches

  • Katia CardosoEmail author


Immigration is increasingly considered a security issue. Particularly after 9/11, it became a prominent part of the national and international security agendas. Within this context, in the last years, immigration detention facilities have proliferated in receiving countries.

The main purpose of this chapter is to analyse immigration detention centres in light of the “abyssal thinking” proposal, theorised by the Portuguese sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos and other critical approaches on the subject developed by authors such as Giorgio Agamben and Loïc Wacquant, among others.

I argue that immigration detention centres are spaces conducive to human rights violations and places, as Santos states, where “non-citizens” can be treated as “dangerous colonial savages” (Santos, Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais 78:62, 2007).


Abyssal thinking Detention centres Human rights Immigration Prison industrial complex 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Social StudiesUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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