Volume 32, 2015
Making and Un-Making Modern Japan
Rewriting the Meaning of Il-/Legality
This paper examines the on-going debate on the conceptual usefulness of citizenship as an analytic tool, arguing that the academic debate often assumes that resistance to state control of mobility is manifested only in refusal to accept the il/legal boundary. Such an assumption leads to a tendency in the debate to privilege irregular migrants’ experiences. By looking at regular migrants who come to Japan with a legal status and the ways in which they negotiate the il/legal boundary, the paper highlights different practices of resisting state control: namely practices that pretend to accept state control while quietly rewriting the meaning of Il-/legality.