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Immigrant Sanctuary or Danger

Health Care and Hospitals in the United States

Beatrix Hoffman

Abstract

Hospitals have for centuries been considered safe havens for immigrants and people on the move. However, immigrants and migrants who seek health care have also been targeted for exclusion and deportation. This article discusses the history of how hospitals and health care facilities in the United States have acted both as sanctuaries and as sites of immigration enforcement. This debate came to a head in California in the 1970s, when conservatives began attacking local public health facilities’ informal sanctuary practices. Following the California battles, which culminated in Proposition 187 in 1994, immigrant rights movements have increasingly connected calls for sanctuary with demands for a right to health care.

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Introduction

States of Displacement: Middle Eastern Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Asylum Seekers in Global Context

Lucia Volk and Marcia C. Inhorn

Abstract

The plight of forcibly displaced persons may have lost the spotlight in the global news cycle due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Middle Eastern refugee crisis has continued unabated. Nearly 80 million people have been forcibly displaced, including millions of Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Syrians, and Yemenis. In this special issue, anthropologists highlight different states of displacement – protracted, repeated and recent – amongst Middle Eastern populations that have fled to Germany, Greece, Jordan and Turkey. Amidst profound precarity, refugees manage to negotiate new geographies of displacement, re-create a sense of home, plan their reproductive futures, organise protests to claim their asylum rights, and engage in activism and solidarity. Featuring nuanced ethnographic studies, this special issue bears witness to refugees’ fortitude and resilience.

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“It's a Big Umbrella”

Uncertainty, Pentecostalism, and the Integration of Zimbabwe Exemption Permit Immigrants in Johannesburg, South Africa

Tinashe Chimbidzikai

Abstract

This article questions the dominant narrative that considers displaced persons as victims, powerless, and lacking agency to shape their individual and collective conditions. Based on an ethnographic study of largely Zimbabwe Exemption Permit holders living in Johannesburg, the article argues that Pentecostalism offers an alternate worldview that draws on religious beliefs and practices to express triumph over everyday adversities and vicissitudes of forced mobility. The article concludes that such beliefs and practices embolden and espouse individual and collective agency among “born-again” migrants, as they mobilize religious social networks for individuals to make sense of the uncertainties engendered by displacement.

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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.

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“Let Us Be Giants”

Masculinity Nostalgia and Military Edutainment in South Asian War Comics

Tehmina Pirzada

Abstract

Since 2003, a budding collection of English-language war comics dealing with military conflicts between India and Pakistan have become part of the comic book repertoire in both countries. This article focuses on two such comics, Siachen (2012) and Haider (2015). Drawing upon Raewyn Connell's theorization of hegemonic masculinity, the article analyzes how the masculine role models depicted in Haider and Siachen vehemently deny the horrific emotional and physical costs of warfare. By examining hegemonic masculinity in the comics through masculinity nostalgia, and through close reading of the characters’ physical appearances and their shared military camaraderie, this article establishes how the comics endorse militancy and warfare for the purpose of entertainment and education, thereby serving as military propaganda, regardless of the creators’ personal intent.

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‘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.

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Masculinity, Fun, and Social Change

Reflections on The Men and the Boys

C.J. Pascoe

Abstract

Raewyn Connell's theorizing in The Men and the Boys shaped my analysis of young men's engagements with masculinity, and my thinking about gender inequality more generally. The claims about relationships between global inequalities and gender relations in that text shifted my focus away from types of boys—gay boys, straight boys, nerdy boys, popular boys—to a focus on gender relations among boys themselves, processes by which boys both robbed others of precious indicators of masculinity and attempted to claim said indicators for themselves. This shift highlights the centrality of interaction, practice, and institutions to gender inequality among American teenagers. The essay concludes by discussing how Connell's focus on global inequalities provided a foundation from which to argue that many of the same gendered dynamics we see among American teenagers—what I came to call masculinity contests—are also deeply woven into political discourses and practices.

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Johanna Schuster-Craig

“Integration” refers to multiple arenas in German migration politics, including journalistic discourse, public policy, and cultural logics about incorporating immigrants and refugees into the nation. This article examines two non-fiction narratives, Das Ende der Geduld by Kirsten Heisig and Muslim Girls by Sineb El Masrar, to explore how each author characterizes integration from opposite sides of the political spectrum. In integration politics, adolescence is often construed as a problem, which—when improperly managed—leads to the criminalization or radicalization of youth of color. Comparative analysis of these two texts shows that institutions such as the school and the criminal justice system produce adolescence as a problem for integration and as a way to avoid acknowledging institutionalized inequity. These two examples exist as part of a longer genealogy of authors using mass-market paperbacks to comment on integration politics.

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Memories of Migration

Commemoration, Contestation, and Migrant Integration in the United Kingdom and Germany

Barbara Laubenthal and Kevin Myers

Based on key concepts of memory studies, this article investigates how immigration is remembered in two different societies: the United Kingdom and Germany. Starting from the assumption that social remembering has the potential to encourage the integration of migrants, we analyze in several case studies how civil society organizations and government actors remember historical immigration processes and how the immigrant past is reflected in popular culture. Our analysis shows that both countries have several factors in common with regard to the role of immigration in collective memory. A common feature is the marginal status accorded to migration and, when it is remembered, the highly restricted role offered to immigrants. However, our studies also reveal that memory can become an important mode for the integration of migrants if it is used as a form of political activism and if organizations proactively use the past to make demands for the incorporation of immigrants.

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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.