Deportations of socio-economically marginal migrants are a form of quiet, non-brutal violence. This violence is not spectacular nor does it typically cause immediate injury or death. Building on histories of immigration and deportation, research on structural violence in colonial settings and critical studies of affect and emotion, this article considers how the deportation regime in the interwar Middle East and specifically in Palestine affected precarious migrants. During the interwar years in mandate Palestine, quiet colonial violence came to guide emotional and affective encounters between the British-run administration and the migrants it deemed illegible. Focusing on the condition of deportability, inscribed upon migrants who could not present identity documents or prove their legible existence in Palestine, this article foregrounds the framing of the colonial state as an object of emotional investment for these migrants. For refugees, the displaced, orphans, single women and labour migrants who were in Palestine without permission, deportability was an embodied and affectively charged condition of being. The article argues that existence in the colonial state was entirely contingent on being legible. Being illegible, then, was to be open to the quiet violence of colonialism. It considers how the archive presents the voices of deportable migrants and their often ordinary cross-border trajectories.
|Number of pages||25|
|Publication status||Published - 28 Apr 2022|
- Palestine mandate