21 January 2022 Anna Hammarstedt succesfully defended her dissertation "The Governance of Missing Asylum-Seekers in Sweden: Managing “Missingness” Through Different Technologies of Power" at the department of Economic History and International Relations. 

Opponent: Mark B. Salter

Supervisors: Mark Rhinard, Tom Lundborg, and Charlotte Wagnsson

Abstract: For a highly controlled and comprehensive welfare state such as Sweden, one can assume that incorporating populations into a system of bureaucratic management (and keeping them there) is paramount to its overall functioning. Either subjects are incorporated into the system and thereby managed, or subjects are expelled from the system and no longer managed. However, as the Swedish asylum regime has attempted to exert "control" over migration by tightening its asylum policies and practices, it has also admitted that stricter asylum policies and practices will lead to more asylum-seekers with failed claims going missing. Hence, the Swedish asylum regime appears to be paradoxically partaking in the (in)direct creation and facilitation of a space that I call missingness: a space of inbetweeness that disrupts the overall governing logic of being fully present or absent within a bureaucratic system. This thesis aims to examine the governance of missingness within the asylum regime in Sweden. Examining the discourses produced through interviews with state employees who manage the asylum-seeking process, it explores how state employees at three key institutions struggle to deal with the uncertainty and ambiguity of missingness. By adopting a Foucauldian perspective on power, the governance of missingness is analyzed in relation to different technologies of power. This thesis finds that different states of missingness are governed in a multitude of ways, through technologies of disciplinary power, biopower, and pastoral power.

Read the full dissertation here