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Based on ethnographic fieldwork among undocumented migrants (including asylum seekers) in Stockholm between 2004 and 2006, additional interviews with police officers, deportation escorts and staff at Swedish detention centres and some fieldwork in Tehran in June 2005 and August 2007, this article examines the impact of Sweden’s more restrictive asylum policy since the beginning of the decade. From a condition of ‘deportability’ to incarceration in detention centres and then removal from Sweden, asylum seekers have been increasingly criminalised – their confinement and removal being seen as mechanisms for preserving national security. Focusing, in particular, on the techniques used by the detention apparatus to ‘humanise’ and ‘rationalise’ the confinement and expulsion of asylum seekers, it is argued that a discourse of ‘caring’ and ‘saving’ works, in effect, as a disciplinary mechanism that presents asylum seekers as responsible for their own detention and deportation.
 
 
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