Exercising Discretion in Border Areas: On the Changing Social Surround and Decision Field of Internal Border Control in the Netherlands
International Journal of Migration and Border Studies 2(4): 382-402
21 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2017
Date Written: 2016
Most of the research on discretion focuses on the street-level decisions of law enforcement officials. By focusing on the micro level, these studies neglect the fact that decisions are not made within a vacuum but rather within a broader political, legal and societal context. This article not only sheds light on the understudied area of border policing, it also aims to give insight into the broader context that might influence the street-level decision-making of Dutch Border police officers. By means of a discourse analysis of over 250 documents, the research shows how the social surround and the decision field of border security in the Netherlands develops over a period of 20 years. The results of the study not only show how Dutch border security is increasingly directed at the criminal immigrant, but also the increased use of and belief in intelligence-based and technology-driven decision-making.
Keywords: decision field, Netherlands, immigration, technology, discretionary powers, border control, social surround
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