Techniques of Legitimation: The Narrative Construction of Legitimacy Among Immigration Detention Officers
Crime Media Culture, Vol. 12(2) 215–232
18 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2016
Date Written: 2016
In many countries, immigrating detention is a controversial issue. Immigration detention centres are frequently seen as concrete symbols of the most problematic side of state immigration control. Immigration detention is often seen as illegitimate by external (immigration law activists) and internal (detainees) critics. Detention centres, in short, frequently operate with a significant legitimacy deficit. This deficit creates problems for detention centre officers who want to feel good about themselves and the work they do. The professional role of the immigration detention officer can be personally challenging and emotionally demanding. Detention centre officers need to address the legitimacy deficit and somehow reconstruct themselves and the institution they work in as legitimate. This paper describes the narrative self-legitimation work that goes on when detention centre officers at the Police Aliens Holding Centre at Trandum, Norway share stories over lunch or a cup of coffee.
Keywords: Canteen culture, immigration detention, legitimacy, narrative criminology, techniques of legitimation
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