This article examines the dynamics through which the migrant field in Ireland is governed, and, through analysing NGO contention over the Immigration, Residence and Protection (IRP) Bill, explores the role they play in the field. The article argues that NGOs both influence and are institutionally channelled by state discourse surrounding migrants. The IRP Bill was designed to regulate non-EU citizens in Ireland, and codified the discretionary powers of the Irish state over migrants. While NGOs offered an influential critique of this process, in doing so they reproduced the dominant representation of migrants in Ireland as problems to be separated out and managed by elite experts. In explaining why this was so, I draw on Bourdieu’s argument that those within a field of practice articulate their identities and goals through the dominant language of that field.
Source: Ethnic and Racial Studies, first published online: 17 Sep 2014