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Professor Anna Lundberg

Anna Lundberg

Head of department

Professor Anna Lundberg

Law and expulsions insidethe Swedish welfare state. : The ‘craftwork of illegalisation’ and the management of undeportable deportees.


  • Anna Lundberg

Summary, in English

The article presents a legal ethnographic study of the contradiction between the rhetoric of return, stressing that rejected asylum seekers should leave the country, and the reality of legally stranded migrants, in a Swedish context. Through an in-depth analysis of three individual asylum case files, the study reveals how a situation comes about where rejected asylum seekers end up as legally stranded migrants, or ‘superfluous’ in the welfare state. These processes, termed ‘craftwork of illegalisation’ happens through (1) displacement of key matters, (2) complex, and far-reaching organization of non-responsibility, and (3) an incommensurable circle of suspicion throughout the asylum process. Whereas the practices result in complete destitute for the concerned individuals, they are in stark contrast to the idea of general basic welfare for all residents. The craftwork of illegalisation tells a broader story of the continuous production and reproduction of unequal access to Swedish welfare, superfluity, and of a current transformation of the welfare state from within, where exclusions and boundaries have become increasingly prioritized.

Publishing year





Law & Society Association, May 30 - June 2, 2019. Dignity : Legally Stranded? Administrative Practices & Refugee Rights and Resettlement in Nordic Countries and the U.S.Fri, 5/31: 10:00 AM - 11:45 AM

Document type

Conference paper


  • Law and Society
  • International Migration and Ethnic Relations


  • ‘craftwork of illegalisation’
  • superfluity
  • Sweden
  • Migration
  • Practical impediments to enforcement
  • asylum
  • Migration Agency