Father state and its migrant daughters

Catherine Goetze, Georgia Spiliopoulos

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


The article argues that states discipline migrants into the role of ideal migrants along categorical social division lines (gender, race, age, able-bodiness etc), and that they do so because the nomothetic principle of modern, European-origin statehood is patrimonial reproduction which slates people into social roles associated with their contribution to the state’s material, demographic, socio-cultural and socio-economic reproduction. Controlling borders and successfully producing ‘ideal migrants’ are both technologies of reproducing patrimonial sovereignty of the host and sending state, respectively. Migration as population exchange, thus, is a form of mutual recognition of sovereignty akin to the respect that family fathers pay to each other when arranging marriages. The argument is supported by two case studies that focus on the multiple levels of socialization and disciplining of women into the role of ‘ideal migrants’ before and after the actual act of migration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-678
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Patrimonial sovereignty
  • female migration
  • global migration flow
  • ideal migrants
  • neoliberal commodification of migrant labour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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