Common Marginalizations: Neoliberalism, Undocumented Migrants and Other Surplus Populations

Prem Kumar Rajaram


The study of the marginalization of undocumented migrants tends to focus on how states govern migrants in order to reinforce its sovereignty. These are important accounts, but the tendency is then to think the marginalization of undocumented migrants as being of a significantly of different order to the marginalization of other groups or populations. In this essay I argue that the contemporary neoliberal relation to politics, economy and the law cultivates surplus populations, amongst which are undocumented migrants. Their marginalization, while possessing singular features, is related to the marginalization of other groups surplus to a neoliberal political economy. It is important to understand this common marginalization as part of an ongoing history of the relationship between capital and labour. Understanding common marginalization would be useful in understanding the possibility of political change.   

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