chapter  15
10 Pages

Activist citizens and the politics of mobility in Osire Refugee Camp

BySuzan Ilcan

The notion of emergency shapes our awareness of the possibilities of humanitarian interventions in social problems (Agier 2011 ; Calhoun 2008 ), the displacement of people within and across states, and the transformations and contestations of citizenship (Nyers 2006 ). Several declared emergencies, ranging from Angola and Rwanda, to Kosovo, Iraq, and, more recently, Syria, have generated new insights into the relations between humanitarian intervention, the formation of refugee camps, and the politics of mobility. Refugee camp operations often consist of an assemblage of state, national, and international actors engaging in aid practices that involve feeding and housing refugees, identifying and counting them, and managing their movements. These practices of ‘humanitarian government’ use certain types of knowledge expertise, mobility controls, and policing efforts to shape those who are cast as citizenship’s outsiders. In response to these and other practices, refugees participate in justice struggles through ‘acts of citizenship’ (Isin 2009 ; McNevin 2011 ) that entail negotiating shared rights, identities, and new visions of change.