The essay provides a genealogical comparison between these three forms of social containment and excess and the social world in which my interlocutors/family manoeuvre. Echoing the Introduction to this Special Issue, I argue that we need to approach the ghetto, camp and slum as three, co-existing and entangled modes of governing movement and practice: state authorised semi-autonomous self-regulation within a specified border; the state’s total control of movement and practice within a specified border and the state’s inability to control the accumulation and spillage of social excess within specific spaces. In this way, camps turn into ghettos that become camps and the slum quickly slides into prisons operating like the ghetto.