This study explores the use of motivational interviews to make non-compliant rejected migrants (‘rejecteers’) return. The study is based on qualitative data from field visits in accommodation centres for rejecteers (‘departure centres’) and from interviews with rejecteers and with the police interviewers conducting the interviews. A thematic analysis showed that these interviews differ from similar dialogue techniques by confronting the interviewees with their situation as seen by the state, in turn eliciting negotiations of belonging and borderwork in the form of repeated rejections. The motivational interviews fail to convince rejecteers that return is viable, especially because they reduce the complicated social situation of rejecteers to a need for responsibilisation. Rather than changing the spatial imaginaries of rejecteers, these motivational interviews block dialogue and engender incomprehension, demotivation and frustration on both sides of the table. In lieu of solving the problem of return, the main function of the motivational interviews is to be spectacles of enforcement that serve to individualise responsibility and to absolve the state of the responsibility for the social problems of ‘rejecteers’.
- Katrine Syppli Kohl
About this publication
Published inIncarceration - An international journal of imprisonment, detention and coercive confinement