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Discourse or Merely Noise? Regarding the Disagreement on Undocumented Migrants

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Drawing on Jacques Rancière’s theorising of the political, this article analyses the disagreement on undocumented migrants in recent legislation in Sweden and within the European Union as well as in Swedish labour union practice. Both the consensus understanding of the issue of undocumented migrants and the materialisation of dissensus through the political activities of undocumented migrants are studied. The aims of the article are: firstly, to show that undocumented migrants in Sweden engage in a political struggle that is not recognised as such, to analyse the structure or conditions of possibility of this non-recognition, and finally, to analyse the ways in which these conditions might be undone through the political activities of undocumented migrants. The theoretical claim is that the issue of undocumented migrants involves intimately core aspects of both politics and law and that the struggle of undocumented migrants is a process in which our understanding of political and legal subjectivity is called into question. In conclusion we reflect on the question of political change against the background of the theoretical and empirical findings of the analysis.

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