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States Against Migrants


  • 7 b/w illus. 2 tables
  • Page extent: 214 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.43 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521515689)

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$95.00 (P)

In this comparative study of the contemporary politics of deportation in Germany and the United States, Antje Ellermann analyzes the capacity of the liberal democratic state to control individuals within its borders. The book grapples with the question of why, in the 1990s, Germany responded to vociferous public demands for stricter immigration control by passing and implementing far-reaching policy reforms, while the United States failed to effectively respond to a comparable public mandate. Drawing on extensive field interviews, Ellermann finds that these crossnational differences reflect institutionally determined variations in socially coercive state capacity. By tracing the politics of deportation across the evolution of the policy cycle, beginning with anti-immigrant populist backlash and ending in the expulsion of migrants by deportation bureaucrats, Ellermann is also able to show that the conditions underlying state capacity systematically vary across policy stages. Whereas the ability to make socially coercive law is contingent on strong institutional linkages between the public and legislators, the capacity for implementation depends on the political insulation of bureaucrats.


1. A Theory of Socially Coercive State Capacity; 2. The Legislative Politics of Migration Control; 3. Deportation and the Executive Politics of Implementation; 4. Deportation and the Street-Level Politics of Implementation; 5. Conclusion.


“In States Against Migrants Antje Ellermann provides an insightful and scrupulously researched examination of the practice of deportation across two countries and offers a subtle and original examination of the nature of the contemporary regulatory state. This is compelling political science.”
-Matthew J. Gibney, University of Oxford

“Antje Ellermann has written an important book on a controversial but neglected topic. Firmly grounded with the public policy literature, Ellerman offers a theory of divergent outcomes in ‘socially coercive’ public policy, one emphasizing the basic importance of bureaucratic actors. This book should be required reading for anyone interested in immigration, bureaucracy, and public policy.”
-Randall Hansen, University of Toronto

“Ellermann has written a powerful book that will be required reading for anyone interested in immigration control. By delving into the virtually unexplored area of deportation, she provides great insights into the difficulties that liberal democracies face in formulating and implementing immigration policy.”
-James F. Hollifield, Southern Methodist University

“In showing that ‘state capacity’ varies across policy stages, this lucid and richly documented book moves our understanding of the role of the state in immigration policy to new heights. One of the best works of political science ever published on immigration.”
-Christian Joppke, The American University of Paris

“Any analyst who wants to understand where the real politics of immigration lay today is obliged to consider what happens on the ground – at the implementation level. No single analysis brings home this point more effectively and compellingly than Antje Ellermann’s thoughtful and careful examination of comparative deportation strategies. This book goes where most have not gone before, ingeniously peeling off the under-layers of liberal state capacities to control migration in the modern era.”
-Gallya Lahav, State University of New York at Stony Brook

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