Daniel Manson

Politics of Migrant Illegality and Deportation; Roma/Gypsy migrations in Europe; Refugees; Forced Migration; the State; Citizenship and Belonging; Sovereignty; Applied Anthropology; Law; Immigration; Globalization; Marginality; Sexuality; France; Romania; South Asia; Canada.


Current Projects: Currently I am interested in the politics of migrant illegality, and the ongoing deportation of Roma migrants from France. My dissertation research seeks to understand how the practice of deportation—and the requisite labeling of some migrants as illegal—is enacted as a political regime that creates spatial and social boundaries through the removal of undesirable individuals. My ethnographic research will focus on the everyday lived experiences of Romanian Roma migrants living in a number of “illegal” settlements, and one state sanctioned site, in Strasbourg, France. My research coalesces around two interrelated questions: 1) How does the status of illegality/legality inform Romani individuals’ everyday sense of identity and belonging? Rather than look at illegality solely as a juridical-political status, I will analyze legality as an altered mode of being in the world. 2) How do the government practice of deportation and displacement structure particular differences between citizens and those deemed to be non-citizens? These practices are only considered publically legitimate insofar as they target “undesirable” subjects and non-citizens. Therefore, I will analyze the ways that the state actively constructs illegal subjects, in order to critically examine state-centered notions of belonging, nationality and citizenship.

This research draws from my Master’s research, which examined how the arrival in Canada of 500 Tamil asylum seekers aboard the MV Sun Sea in August 2010 was constructed by the government and the media as an object of national security. I argued that securitization must be understood not just by its ability to physically remove individuals from the nation-state but, rather, by the ways that it mobilizes citizens against migrants perceived as threatening.

My interests are linked by a focus on how anthropological perspectives may contribute to public debates about belonging, citizenship and exclusion. In accounting for the impact of punitive immigration discourses and policies on the everyday lives of Roma migrants, I hope to denaturalize illegality as an inevitable outcome of unwanted migration.

PhD (Anthropology)

MA Anthropology, University of British Columbia, 2013

BA Anthropology, University of Lethbridge, 2010

Supervisor/s: Gaston Gordillo


Conference Papers and Publications


“Strangers by Sea: Crafting of a ‘Well-Grounded’ Fear” (paper presented at the annual meeting American Ethnological Association and Association for Political and Legal Anthropology joint meeting, Chicago, Illinois, April 11-13, 2013).


“No Roma Land: The Politics of Migrant Illegality and Deportation of Roma migrants in France” (paper presented at the University of Toronto, The Roma in Europe: From the Holocaust to the Decade of Roma Inclusion, Toronto, Ontario March 7-8, 2012).


“Silent Sexualities: Critical reflections on the acceptance of sexual minority refugee claims in Canada” (Paper Presented at UBC Anthropology Graduate Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia, March 2-3, 2012).


Autoethnography of a Modern Yogi: the Spiritual Economy, Capital and Yoga Business” (Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the CanadianAnthropological Society, Montreal, Quebec, June 1-3, 2010).