abstrakt: Building upon an abundance of theoretical literature describing the role of deportation in the assertion of nation-state sovereignty, this article asks how deportees experience state sovereignty. Its conclusions are informed by an ‘ethnography of removal’ drawing on 62 interviews with 25 Mexican deportees interviewed in their communities of origin in Oaxaca after ‘3D’ (detection, detention and deportation) removal. Acknowledging deportation as an example of legal violence, the paper describes various other types of violence (physical, structural and symbolic; executed by state agents, private contractors, other deportees, criminal organisations, and communities of origin) that produce US sovereignty at the level of individual experience. ‘3D’ deportation causes suffering, embarrassment and fear. The paper shows how US borders are externalised on the micro and meso level without the involvement of state actors as deportees, invested with a new governmentality after being violently deported, exercise border controls over themselves and refrain from returning to the US.
keywords: Deportation; violence; sovereignty; externalisation of borders; deportation violence