'Beauty and the Beast': Sham Marriage and Everyday Bordering Discourse

Georgie Wemyss, Nira Yuval-Davis, Kathryn Cassidy

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13 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper examines discourses of ‘sham marriage’ as a technology of everyday bordering in the UK. We argue that everyday bordering needs to be seen as a growing hegemonic political project of belonging experienced in complex ways as differently situated individuals negotiate proliferating internal and external borders. We explore how the process of marriage registration, especially when it concerns citizens of ex-Empire states marrying British or EEA citizens, has been transformed, under evolving UK Immigration Acts, from a celebration into a security interrogation. The discourses and practices associated with ‘sham marriage’ have become important elements in bordering control, which has become a major technology of managing diversity and discourses on diversity, in the UK. ‘Sham marriage’ discourses can adversely affect the lives of families, neighbours, friends, employers and others across time and transnational space. In order to understand the complexities of everyday bordering, we developed a situated, intersectional analysis capturing the situated gazes and border imaginaries of lawmakers, registrars, church officials, targeted couples and examining spectacular ‘sham marriage’ media stories that incorporate diverse citizens into border-guarding roles focused on the intimate lives of others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-160
JournalPolitical Geography
Early online date3 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


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