Institutional racism within the securitization of migration. The case of family reunification in Belgium

Giacomo Orsini, Sarah Smit, Jean-Baptiste Farcy, Laura Merla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Web of Science)


Institutional Racism (IR) in Europe is rarely mentioned in studies of race-based discrimination. Yet, structural racism occurs within most European societies. Due to the increasing securitization of immigration, countries have introduced several (in)formal strategies to exclude foreign populations. Given that, we propose an updated way of conceptualizing IR to uncover contemporary manifestations and practices of structural racist discrimination in a European country. By concentrating on the case of Belgium and, in particular, on family reunification, we first operationalize Agamben's "state of exception" to show how exceptional measures applying to non-nationals conflict with other constitutional and international legal frameworks. As we discuss, such incompatible legal tools generate space for racist considerations to drive judicial decisions involving non-nationals. Second, in relying on Foucault's governmentality, we explore migrants' everyday experience of administrative discrimination - as the same procedures are implemented differently on foreigners of diverse nationalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-172
Number of pages20
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Institutional racism within the securitization of migration. The case of family reunification in Belgium'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this