Accessibility statement

Dr Joe Turner
Senior Lecturer



My research focuses on the organisation of violence in Northern liberal states, specifically how border regimes reproduce structural, epistemic and bio-physical violence. In my work I explore how post metropoles like Britain function as postcolonial states, and how border regimes in such spaces are structured by imperial and colonial histories and hierarchies of human value. In this way I am interested in how the knowledge and practice of borders, citizenship and mobility form a central role in colonial/global systems of international politics. My work is interdisciplinary in character, drawing from international relations, political geography and history. In my research I draw widely on postcolonial and postcolonial feminist theories as well as theoretical innovations from Foucauldian studies and material theories of race, gender, sexuality and capitalism. I have previously published work on citizenship and domestication, family visa regimes, intimate methods and internal colonisation. My articles have appeared in disciplinary and interdisciplinary journals and my forthcoming monograph Bordering Intimacy will be published with Manchester University Press.         


I hold a PhD from the University of Sheffield, an MA from Newcastle University and a BA from the University of Sheffield. After finishing my PhD, I was an Associate Lecturer at the Aston University Birmingham before becoming a University Teacher at the University of Sheffield. From 2016-2019 I held a Fellowship in International Migration in the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Sheffield. I joined the University of York as Lecturer in September 2019. 



My research is broadly focused on border regimes and the control of mobility after colonialism. My current research is split into four strands:

1. Family, Intimacy and Borders (2016-)

This research began as my postdoctoral project. It aims to explore the increasing surveillance that is placed on certain people under the moral and cultural economy of ‘family life’ in late liberalism. It examines those who are marginalised, excluded and made insecure through transforming ideas about who is deserving of, who can have access to, and equally who threatens normative forms of ‘family life’. As an empirical focus, it investigates how claims to ‘family life’ shape, and are shaped by, border regimes and the politics of contemporary citizenship in the UK.
To unpack these points of interest the project explores the entanglement of mobility, heteronormativity and social control under Empire and how this is sustained and reproduced through contemporary border regimes. I examine how borders and the control of mobility, far from being a project of the nation-state, was, in fact, central to colonial rule and imperial governance. As well as examining the significance of this history for how we theorise borders, sovereignty and the modern state, the project also explores how contemporary borders work within this history. Namely, we cannot understand the hostile environment, systems of deportation and deportation, citizenship deprivation and visa regimes outside of the ongoing histories of colonialism. Alongside examining how ‘migrant families’ are intervened upon and policed in contemporary border practices, the project asks how shifting ideas around the ‘family’ and proper ‘domesticity’ work to racialize and sexualise certain bodies and, in doing so, coordinate modern politics more generally.
Alongside recent publications, the main output from this project is a research monograph called Bordering intimacy: Postcolonial governance the policing of family (Manchester University Press forthcoming).

2. Migration Studies and Colonialism (2019-)

In 2019 I began a book project with Dr Lucy Mayblin at the University of Sheffield called ‘Migration Studies After Colonialism’. The collaborative book project responds to the way that the field of migration studies has failed to properly deal with European colonial histories and structural racism that both underpins modern scholarship and the politics of mobility. The book offers a vital intervention into the field and provides tools for scholars to incorporate the insights of decolonial and postcolonial studies into their work. As well as examining postcolonial and decolonial theory alongside questions of contemporary mobility, the book makes precise interventions into debates on forced migration and refugee studies, the securitisation of borders, studies of gender and sexuality (amongst others).
Borders and the Afterlife of Colonial Control (2019-)
This project continues the work I started in Family, Intimacy Borders but examines more closely how authoritarian bordering is proliferating in contemporary Europe. Whilst contemporary work on borders tends to equate borders with immigration law and the control of migrants, this project examines the intertwining of state control over mobility and the spatialisation of race – for example in the connections between forms of contemporary policing, incarceration and deportation under the auspices of ‘security’ – not only counter-terrorism but also knife crime and ‘gang violence’. It explores how authoritarian practices such as the deprivation of citizenship, fast track deportations, and the expulsion of ‘foreign national criminals’ are increasingly used by states like Britain as forms of containment and punishment that blur the boundaries between warfare, policing, criminal justice and citizenship. The increasing use of deprivation of citizenship reminds us that borders do not only target ‘migrants’ but also convert some citizens into migrants. The project investigates how we make sense of these contemporary shifts in the wider history of colonial control over mobility? How intersectional forms of race, gender, sexuality and class animate contemporary borders? And what this tells us about the character of citizenship after Empire? The project aims to produce new ways of think about security, borders, and the legacies of Empire.

3. Eco-Bordering

Working with Dr Daniel Bailey (Manchester Metropolitan University) this project examines how far-right parties in Europe are increasingly using ‘green’ arguments about environmental protection and sustainability to justify restrictive and securitised borders. The project examines the discourse of far-right political parties in the 2019 Europe parliamentary elections to explore how racist and neo-fascist ideas are increasingly greenwashed by particular social groups. As well as studying the emergence of discourses of eco-borders we show how this evades a more radical critique of capitalism that needs to be central to a global green movement based on environmental justice and postcolonial reparations.





  • Critical Global Security Studies - POL00049I
  • Political Enquiry in International Relations - POL00051I
  • The Politics of Gender  - POL00053I

External activities


I am a member of the Colonial, Postcolonial and Decolonial BISA working group and ECPR Citizenship Standing group. From 2014-2017 I was a member of the EPRR Citizenship Standing Group Committee.

At York, I am a member of the International Studies and Political Economy research clusters.

Contact details

Dr Joe Turner
Senior Lecturer
Department of Politics and International Relations
University of York
Heslington Lane
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 324642

Feedback and Guidance hours for this semester: Wednesdays and Thursdays 9:30-10:30