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In the Name of Love: Marriage Migration, Governmentality, and Technologies of Love

International Political Sociology

Published online on


The past 10 years have seen an increase in legislation pertaining to marriage migration in Europe. Such attention betrays various concerns and anxieties that intersect not only with issues of risk management, rights, and citizenship, but also with less tangible dimensions such as emotions, which become embedded in legal as well as in surveillance practices. Emotions such as love are integral to the institutions, procedures, analyses and reflections, calculation, and tactics that Foucault identified as part of governmental processes; the latter should not necessarily be equated with (and limited to) rationalized technocratic processes detached from emotional components. Technologies of love are central to the governmentality of marriage migration; as modes of subjectification and governing practice, they connect intimacy with citizenship. More than the manifestation of the rationalization of a specific emotion, technologies of love allow for an exploration of what an engagement with emotions such as love does to governmentality. Illustrations of the “attachment requirement” in Denmark, and the case of “Catgate” in Great Britain, show that technologies of love play a significant role in stirring and disciplining specific migration flows (what kind of marriage migrants the state welcomes or keeps at bay), but also in challenging, even if inadvertently, those policies and practices designed to gauge “true” relationships.