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Gilad Ben-Nun

Abstract

This article examines Jewish law's approach to forced migration. It explains the difference under Jewish law between forced migration brought about by disasters and the state of being a refugee—which is directly associated with war and armed conflict. It continues by demonstrating how these distinctions influenced the religious Jewish authors of the 1951 Refugee Convention. It concludes with the fundamental distinction between Jewish law and Roman law, concerning the latter's application of a strong differentiation between citizens and migrant foreigners, which under Jewish law was entirely proscribed as per the religious duty to accord hospitality to forced migrants irrespective of their background.

Open access

‘Life Is Tight Here’

Displacement and Desire amongst Syrian Refugee Women in Jordan

Morgen A. Chalmiers

Abstract

Since the civil war began in 2011, 5.5 million Syrians have fled their home country and are now living as refugees. Building upon anthropological studies of precarity, the article draws upon 14 months of person-centered ethnographic fieldwork to examine the contextual specificities of Syrian women's protracted displacement in Jordan. By foregrounding bodily experience as described by three interlocutors during person-centered interviews, the article considers how subjectivities are reshaped under such conditions. The narratives analysed here illustrate how the precarity of displacement fosters an embodied sense of tightness, constriction and stagnation while reconfiguring temporal horizons and rendering visions of imagined futures increasingly myopic.

Open access

Suvi Rautio

Ethnic minority villages across Southwest China have recently experienced a dramatic increase in cultural heritage projects. Following new policies of rural development and the growth of tourism, villages are being converted into heritage sites to preserve the aesthetics of rurality and ethnicity. This article describes how architect scholars plan to create a ‘Chinese Traditional Village’ in a Dong autonomous district of Guizhou province, focusing in particular on the constraints of those plans and the negotiations. Rather than looking at plans as the end product, this article sheds light on the social dynamics of planning to reconsider the capacity for compromise between the interests and perspectives of planners, officials, and local inhabitants. Lasting compromises appear specifically in the materiality of buildings, pathways, and public space.

Open access

Min Al-Mukhayyam’ (‘From the Camp’)

Discourses of Difference and the Boundaries of Exile amongst Palestinian Refugees in Jordan

Michael Pérez

Abstract

This article examines the implications of long-term encampment and exile for the meaning of Palestinian identity amongst refugees. It shows how the conditions of Palestinian camps in Jordan function as a key marker of social difference between refugees of the camps and the city. Whereas camp refugees see the hardships of camp life as conditions to be confronted, urban refugees take them as constitutive features of a socially distinct refugee. As I argue, the distinctions between camp and city refugees illustrate how the refugee category and the humanitarian camp exceed the ideology and function of humanitarianism. They demonstrate how, in protracted refugee situations, the refugee label and the historical context of the camp can become socially significant and contested features of identity.

Open access

Katherine Smith

Abstract

The article is situated ethnographically in households on the main social housing estate in Harpurhey, North Manchester, England. It explores the affective dynamics of motherhood and imaginations of the future with a backdrop of prolonged government disinvestment. We follow the experiences of a mother and her son as they deal with moments of uncertainty and attempt to imagine and prepare for his future free from dependence on state welfare. Considering that parenting marks time in the most intimate of ways and it confronts parents with the passing of time in terms of biological “growth” that sequences time for us, this article addresses how and at what points dependence on the state, over time, reconfigures the affective dynamics of motherhood and imaginations of familial dependencies into the future.

Restricted access

Narratives of Socioecological Transition

The Case of the Transition Network in Portugal

Vera Ferreira and António Carvalho

Abstract

This article explores narratives and characteristics of sociological transitions displayed by members of the Transition Network (TN) in Portugal. It is informed by scholarly work on grassroots innovations, sociological transition narratives, and environmental engagement in Portugal. It furthers this research in three ways: (1) it analyzes an original case study—the Portuguese TN; (2) it identifies and defines the various socioecological narratives conveyed by its participants; and (3) it interprets the TN's sociopolitical appeal as a grassroots innovation in the context of environmental mobilization in Portugal. Drawing on 20 semistructured interviews with current and former members of the Portuguese TN, three narratives of sociological transition were identified—utopianism, inevitability, and pessimism—as well as seven characteristics that motivated interviewees’ engagement with the TN.

Open access

The Obligation Is the Point

‘Refugee 2 Refugee’ Care and Solidarity in Greece

Zareena Grewal

Abstract

This article examines how grassroots refugee-activists and ‘solidarians’ in Greece articulate a collectivist political vision and praxis of care through an expanding network of social obligation that upends narrow understandings of refugees’ ‘basic’ rights and moral obligations of care. The refugees draw on a wide range of universalising collectivist frames including Islamic, Anarcho-Marxist and Palestinian-liberationist frames to articulate visions of solidarity and nurture trust and mutual care amongst refugees.

Open access

Rebecca M. Schreiber

Abstract

This article examines how Central American migrant and refugee youth imagine forms of sanctuary through collaborative artwork as part of a series of Arte Urgente (Urgent Art) workshops led by artist Caleb Duarte. This artwork involved a critical embodiment and reenvisioning of their past and present experiences in the form of performance. In addition, their creation of a symbolic Embassy of the Refugee was an imaginative way of asserting their right to protection. This article examines how members of affected communities have made artistic interventions into public spaces to focus attention on the nation-state as a site of crisis as well as envision autonomous, noninstitutional sanctuary spaces for each other, while also engaging in ongoing practices of solidarity with other displaced people.

Open access

Photography as Archive

The Self and Other in Isolation: An Interview with Saiful Huq Omi, followed by The Human that Is Lacking: A response to Saiful Huq Omi's photograph

Yousif M. Qasmiyeh and Saiful Huq Omi

Abstract

In this interview, Yousif M. Qasmiyeh enters into conversation with Saiful Huq Omi, an award-winning photographer and filmmaker and founder of Counter Foto-A Centre for Visual Arts in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on issues spanning from photography in the era of COVID and what it means, in this situation of stasis and containment worldwide, to continue photographing; to the intimate as revealed by the photograph; photographing (across) different geographies and national borders; on Rohingya refugees as both the photographed and the unphotographed; the archive and the afterlives of photography; and, finally, how to envision an equitable future between the photographer and the photographed.

In the form of poetic fragments, “The Human that is Lacking” offers a response to Saiful Huq Omi's photograph reproduced in these pages, in an attempt to “co-see” the image with the photographer. The image and its response sit alongside Yousif M. Qasmiyeh's interview with the award-winning photographer and film-maker himself (also in this issue).

Open access

The Pope's Public Reason

A Religious yet Public Case for Welcoming Refugees

Aurélia Bardon

Abstract

Since the beginning of Europe's “refugee crisis,” Pope Francis has repeatedly argued that we should welcome refugees. This, he said, is an obligation for Christians who have “a duty of justice, of civility, and of solidarity.” This religious justification is a problem for liberal political philosophers who are committed to the idea of public reason: state action, they argue, must be justified to all citizens based on public, generally accessible reasons. In this article, I argue that the claim that liberal public reason fully excludes religion from the public sphere is misguided; not all religious reasons are incompatible with the demands of Rawlsian public reason. Understanding how a religious reason can be public requires looking into both what makes a reason religious and what makes a reason public. I show that the pope's reason supporting the claim that we should welcome refugees is both religious and public.