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Re/Making Immigration Policy through Practice

How Social Workers Influence What It Means to Be a Refused Asylum Seeker

Kathryn Tomko Dennler

Refused asylum seekers living in the UK face hostility and legal restrictions on the basis of immigration status that limit access to statutory support, employment, and social goods. Working at a non-profit organization that offered an advice service for refused asylum seekers, I observed how the experiences of refused asylum seekers are constituted not simply by restrictions within immigration law, but rather by the ways in which laws are perceived and implemented by a wide range of actors. I argue that the legal consciousness of social workers hostile to refused asylum seekers plays an important role in making policy through practice. I show that social workers prioritized immigration enforcement over other legal obligations, thereby amplifying the meaning of immigration status and deepening the marginalization of refused asylum seekers.

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Hadas Weiss

My goal in this forum essay is to brush the dust off Claude Meillassoux’s (1981) magnum opus, Maidens, Meal and Money, by demonstrating its relevance for the present day. While Meillassoux wrote primarily about precapitalist agricultural communities, he had sketched on their basis a model of social reproduction that incorporates social investments and powers, and he foregrounded the hierarchical and exploitative reproductive orders by which capitalism sustains accumulation. In the context of a renewed interest by feminist scholars in questions of social reproduction, I argue that the analytical tools developed by Meillassoux are at least as helpful in making sense of the age of financialization.

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Refugee Hospitality Encounters in Northern Portugal

“Cultural Orientations” and “Contextual Protection”

Elizabeth Challinor

This article discusses the legal and institutional framework of refugee hospitality in Portugal. This sets the context for an analysis of how hospitality encounters take place in northern towns between asylum seekers, refugees, voluntary hosting institutions, public services, and volunteers. The aim is to enquire into the conflicting expectations, morals, and values of these different people and institutions, and into how they are managed and negotiated in practice. Through focusing on the “moral subjectivities” of individuals, the data elucidates the tensions that arise between charity- based and rights-based approaches, how misunderstandings arise and are avoided through engaging in “contextual protection,” and how linear transitions from hospitality to hostility cannot be presumed.

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Nicholas Van Hear, Veronique Barbelet, Christina Bennett and Helma Lutz

Imagining Refugia: Thinking Outside the Current Refugee Regime, Nicholas Van Hear

Refugia: A Place Where Refugees Survive, But Do Not Thrive, Veronique Barbelet and Christina Bennett

Beware of Social Engineering: A Response to “Refugia” by Nicholas Van Hear, Helma Lutz

Refugia: Pragmatic Utopianism, Nicholas Van Hear

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Behnam Amini, Natalia Suit and Soheila Shahshahani

Publications

Gareth Stansfield and Mohammed Shareef (eds), The Kurdish Question Revisited (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017)

J. R. Osborn, Letters of Light: Arabic Script in Calligraphy, Print, and Digital Design (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017)

Conference

18th IUAES World Congress, ‘Word (of) Encounters: The Past, Present and Future of Anthropological Knowledge’, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil, 16–20 July 2018

Open access

Han Tao and Sevasti-Melissa Nolas

Queer/Tongzhi China: New Perspectives on Research, Activism and Media Cultures

Elisabeth L. Engebretsen and William F. Schroeder (eds.) with Hongwei Bao, Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2015, ISBN 978-877-694-155-0, 274 pp., Hb: £60, Pb: £20.

Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China

Hongwei Bao, Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2018, ISBN 978-87-7694-236-6, 265 pp., Hb: £65, Pb: £22.50.

White Gold: Stories of Breast Milk Sharing

Susan Falls, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2017, ISBN 978-1-4962-0189-8. 242 pp., Hb: $65, Pb: $25.

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Sanctuary City Organizing in Canada

From Hospitality to Solidarity

David Moffette and Jennifer Ridgley

In recent years, migrant justice organizers in Canada have developed campaigns aimed at building, legislating, and enforcing municipal commitments to alleviating and resisting the harms done by federal immigration enforcement, and ensuring migrant access to municipal services. As a result of these efforts, some cities, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Hamilton, have declared themselves “sanctuary cities,” and campaigns centered around this concept have emerged in other localities across the country. In this article, the authors—who are themselves involved in sanctuary city organizing—reflect on the concept, and offer a critical assessment of these organizing efforts. We provide a brief history of these campaigns in Canada, discuss the impact of these policies in cities where they have been adopted, reflect on the types of politics that inform notions of sanctuary, hospitality, solidarity, and resistance, and offer some lessons for moving forward.

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David Schweikart

In 1952 Albert Camus wrote a caustic letter to Les Temps Modernes in response to the journal’s negative review of The Rebel, addressed, not to the author of the review, but to “M. Le Directeur,” i.e. to Sartre. Sartre’s response published in the journal ended their friendship. This article examines the deep cause of this rupture, Camus’s political views moving rightward, Sartre’s moving left. I examine Camus’s critique of Marx and Marxism, then ask the question, “What is Marxism, Anyway?” I defend a version of Sartrean “existential Marxism” as appropriate for our time.

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Theophilus Kwek

In February 2017, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a damning report of human rights abuses perpetrated against the Rohingya. The report was based on interviews with Rohingya fleeing from Myanmar since 9 October 2016, with research continuing up to January 2017. Many recounted personal experiences of violence and physical, life-threatening harm. The report received some attention among humanitarian agencies (many of which have been banned from accessing Rakhine state) but was largely ignored by the international press. Headlines that week focused on the Trump administration’s attempts to defend its travel ban. This poem contains fragments and modifications of the report. It is not an attempt to supplant the voices of those at the heart of the report, but—by stripping down its language—an attempt to make (and mend) our ways of reading (and hearing) their stories.

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Undocumented People (En)Counter Border Policing

Near and Far from the US Border

Denise Brennan

This article examines undocumented people’s everyday lived experience in the United States where their legal status is criminalized. It asks how they live with constant threat and surveillance. It highlights their strategies of invisibility as well as their generous contributions to their communities. It argues that these acts of “community caretaking” are acts of “hospitality” that demonstrate their “good citizenship.” Every time undocumented people conduct “know your rights” workshops, they model citizenship in action. The article also explores the other side of the daily equation to stay safe and spotlights undocumented people’s encounters with law enforcement agents. Agents do not act in lockstep, but rather make decisions in split seconds that can change undocumented people’s lives forever. Drawing from ethnographic field research in migrant communities inside the “100-mile border zone” as well as deep in the US interior, the article argues that “border policing” happens far from the border.