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Special Issue Article

Documenting Attachment: Affective border control in applications for family reunification

Authors:

Sofie Jeholm ,

Centre for Gender, Sexuality and Difference, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, DK
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Mons Bissenbakker

Centre for Gender, Sexuality and Difference, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, DK
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Abstract

From 2002 to 2018, Denmark was the only country in the world to enforce a migration law demanding that couples seeking family reunification in Denmark documented their combined “attachment” to the Danish nation. This article investigates the practice of documenting such national attachment through the so-called “application packets”. Investigating the attachment requirement as a migration political tool with affective investments and implications, we suggest that the documentation process can be understood as a performative process in which the application packets lay out a trajectory of “happy objects” (Ahmed 2010): the application, family reunifi cation, a residence permit and ultimately the nation itself. Although the applicants are urged to orient themselves towards the Danish nation as a happy object with the promise of a possible future in Denmark, this promise may have cruel implications for the applicants. Suggesting that an interdisciplinary meeting point between the fields of migration studies and cultural/discursive studies may form as fruitful, this article invites readers to think about the biopolitics of border control in affective terms
How to Cite: Jeholm, S. and Bissenbakker, M., 2019. Documenting Attachment: Affective border control in applications for family reunification. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, 9(4), pp.480–496. DOI: http://doi.org/10.2478/njmr-2019-0039
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Published on 01 Dec 2019.
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