MARS Attacks! A Cautionary Tale from the UK on the Relation between Migration and Refugee Studies (MARS) and Migration Control

Abstract This article makes four related arguments regarding the academic field of migration and refugee studies (MARS) in the UK and its relations of knowledge production with UK state agencies. The first, most empirical, argument is that the field’s members harmed their human subjects by providing technical and symbolic assistance to two UK Home Office-managed organisations in controlling migration: the Advisory Panel on Country Information (APCI) and the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). The second, most theoretical argument is that these MARS-UK state agency relations of production, and the harm that the field’s human subjects experienced as a result, are intelligible as aspects of the neoliberalisation of the capitalist mode of production. The third and fourth arguments that are made in this article are more normative. One is that the similarities between the cases of MARS in the UK and the field in Germany warrant attention both to the latter’s relations of production and to the effects that these might be having (or may have already had) on its human subjects. The other normative argument is that a ›critical‹ MARS is a structural impossibility.

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