1887

n Acta Academica - Refugees and social theory : from the politics of "bare life" to refugees as political subjects

Volume 46, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0587-2405

Abstract

This article explores theoretical literature on refugees, noting a significant distinction between an abstract body of work critiquing the politics of humanitarianism and an ethnographic literature focused on refugee subjects. As I argue, refugees should be seen not simply as "bare life" which has been removed from political life, but rather as political subjects whose subjectivities are shaped by the social environments in which they live. To illustrate this point, I draw on Liisa Malkki's and my own work on exile camps administered by the South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) during Namibia's liberation struggle. Collectively, this and other ethnographic literature highlight limits to social theory which works with highly abstract notions of "the refugee" and suggests that more significant scholarly interventions are now to be made through carefully contextualised work, tracing political subjectivities, in particular refugee communities, and how these subjectivities have been abstracted.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/academ/46/4/EJC165376
2014-01-01
2019-11-21

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error