Domopolitics, governmentality and the regulation of asylum accommodation

Jonathan Darling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act, asylum seekers in the UK have been dispersed across the country to zones of accommodation on a no choice basis. This paper examines the political practices and governmental rationalities which accompany the allocation of asylum accommodation in Britain through the National Asylum Support Service (NASS). The paper draws on discussions of the UK border as a site of 'domopolitics', the governing of the state as a home, to suggest that domopolitics is productive of particular relations of calculation, regulation and discipline through which the lives of asylum seekers are conditioned. These entangled modes of governance, it is argued, find expression in a logic of accommodation which acts to discipline asylum seekers and to reinsert modes of arbitrary sovereign authority into a regime of governmental regulation. The rationalities of governance that accompany accommodation create an account of housing which is deliberately decoupled from feelings of security, as accommodation becomes a key space through which a relation to the border is lived for asylum seekers. Domopolitics is thus shown to be productive of a politics of discomfort for those at the limits of the nation. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-271
Number of pages8
JournalPolitical Geography
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • Asylum
  • Borders
  • Dispersal accommodation
  • Domopolitics
  • Governmentality


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