Resettlement and contested citizenship
Resettlement provides refugees with permanent residency and civic rights but can, at the same time, place refugees into new sociocultural contexts that heighten their existential sense of displacement. In this chapter, Ramsay describes how non-white refugees who are resettled in Australia from continental Africa become encoded automatically with assumptions of deficiency: from the services in place to support their settlement to the wider societal actors and institutions within which they must live their everyday lives. Ramsay describes how the programme of resettlement in Australia is implicitly organised around racialised social hierarchies that rank refugees according to “settlement potential,” from the selection of refugees to be resettled to the delivery of settlement services to those selected. Refugees from Africa, Ramsay argues, continue to be approached throughout the process of resettlement in Australia as dehumanised objects who represent inherent difference, inferiority, and a kind of timeless backwardness: their lives are considered to be incommensurable with the neoliberal lifestyles that are valued in Australia. Characterising the social landscape of resettlement in Australia as infused with colonial racisms, Ramsay describes how the aspiration to create a new life for refugees resettled in Australia is simultaneously a process of negotiating marginalisation.