Bordering intimacy

Postcolonial governance and the policing of family

Joe Turner
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Bordering intimacy is a study of how borders and dominant forms of intimacy, such as family, are central to the governance of postcolonial states such as Britain. The book explores the connected history between contemporary border regimes and the policing of family with the role of borders under European and British empires. Building upon postcolonial, decolonial and black feminist theory, the investigation centres on how colonial bordering is remade in contemporary Britain through appeals to protect, sustain and make family life. Not only was family central to the making of colonial racism but claims to family continue to remake, shore up but also hide the organisation of racialised violence in liberal states. Drawing on historical investigations, the book investigates the continuity of colonial rule in numerous areas of contemporary government – family visa regimes, the policing of sham marriages, counterterror strategies, deprivation of citizenship, policing tactics, integration policy. In doing this, the book re-theorises how we think of the connection between liberal government, race, family, borders and empire. In using Britain as a case, this opens up further insights into the international/global circulations of liberal empire and its relationship to violence.


Bordering intimacy is an exceptional and timely analysis that does not just intervene in debates regarding immigration and citizenship, but sets an agenda for centring the family within these and much broader sociopolitical discussions of race, Britishness and liberal humanism.'
James Trafford
September 2021

‘Joe Turner’s fascinating book provides a compelling and timely analysis of the relationship between familial intimacy and the historical evolution of borders in Britain.'
Sara Marino
Border Criminologies
November 2021

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