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Governing the 'immigration nation'. Development, humanitarianism and migration politics in Morocco



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Gazzotti, Lorena 


A burgeoning body of migration scholarship has scrutinised the role that aid, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and International Organisations (IOs) play in the governance of migration in sending and ‘transit’ countries. Although scholars agree that aid and non-state actors contribute to broader objectives of migration containment, the dynamics through which this happens on the ground are not well understood, mainly because the grounded implementation of these donor- funded projects has received comparatively little attention. This thesis adds to this literature by questioning the rise of ‘Sub-Saharan’ migrants as a category of beneficiaries of the development and humanitarian industry in Morocco. I combine literature on non-state governance, development securitisation and border control to analyse the role played by donors, NGOs and IOs in the regulation of three spheres of migration governance: the politicisation of migration, the implementation of a social policy targeting migrants and refugees, and the regulation of the borderlands. Building on fieldwork in Morocco, I examine how the drive for border control merges with situated dynamics of neoliberalisation and state formation, thus producing localised processes of marginalisation, containment and contestation. I argue that aid-funded actors occupy an ambiguous position in the migration governance puzzle in Morocco. On the one hand, donor-funded NGOs and IOs fulfill an important function of care. In the space left by an “indifferent” Moroccan state, non-state actors palliate the lack of social and humanitarian assistance to migrants and refugees. On the other hand, the origin, working logics and priorities orienting the work of the aid industry are drenched with migration control objectives, rationales and symbolism. These two indissoluble aspects of the migration industry (care and control) merge together and overlap with situated dynamics of neoliberalisation and authoritarian redeployment, feeding a social and political environment producing, reproducing and ‘managing’ the marginalisation of migrant life.





Winkels, Alexandra


aid, development, humanitarianism, morocco, borders, sovereignty, migration politics, governance, non-governmental organisations, international organisations, donors


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
Cambridge Trust (Vice Chancellor's Award) and Lucy Cavendish College (Maria Marina Foundation graduate scholarship).