Conference postponed to 2021 (new dates and programme to be announced)
‘Camps’ across the world: global and local perspectives
University of Luxembourg
The conference is organised in the framework of the REFUGOV project supported by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) and based at the University of Luxembourg (https://refugov.uni.lu/).
The conference is composed of academic panels and ‘research meets practice’ events.
Confirmed keynote speaker: Jonathan Darling (Durham University)
The academic panels will be organised around three interlinked themes.
A more global analysis for studying camps, beyond that of the South/North divide
Throughout the world, refugees, asylum seekers, ‘irregular’ migrants and sometimes foreigners (such as foreign workers) are often accommodated or placed in designated facilities, either referred to as refugee and foreign worker camps or reception and detention centres. These facilities share a common rationale: they are often set up by states or international organisations to temporarily accommodate or detain mobile populations. Eventually, in many cases, these ‘temporary’ facilities tend to become semi-permanent and residents experience a form of ‘permanent temporariness’. Many scholars conceptualise refugee and foreign worker camps or reception and detention centres through the generic concept of ‘camps’ (Bernardot, 2008; Katz et al., 2018). Despite such similarities, there is a lack of a research perspective on a global scale, and especially in highly diverse settings across the global South and North (with the exceptions of the edited volumes of Agier, 2014, and Picker et al., 2015, which both envisioned camps as durable socio-spatial formations that displace and confine undesirable populations across the world). Indeed, the questions of refugee and foreign worker camps in the ‘South’ and reception and detention centres in the ‘North’ have often been treated as distinct processes. One of the objectives of the conference is to reach a more global analysis for the study of ‘camps’. We therefore welcome contributions relating to camps (refugee camps, reception centres, detention centres, foreign worker camps, waiting zones, and so on) and questioning reception, accommodation and detention across the global South and North.
The role of local actors in the management of camps
Moreover, ‘camps’ are in many cases set up by the central state or international organisations. They are often located within or close to the boundaries of local authorities (i.e. municipalities), which are however in many cases officially not in charge of them. While there has been a ‘local turn’ in the study of migration governance and a recognition of its multi-level dimensions (see e.g. Caponio et al., 2010; Filomeno, 2017; Zincone et al., 2006), academic research on forced migration has until recently remained conceptualised with the national perspective as the starting point (see explanations in Doomernik et al., 2016). Recent research in the disciplines of geography, sociology, anthropology and political science has started to draw attention to multi-level governance processes in the case of forced migration, with an emphasis on the local level. However, the role of local authorities and actors (such as NGOs) has yet to receive more attention. In order to fill this gap, this conference also seeks to focus on the direct or indirect role of local actors in the management of camps, and we welcome contributions addressing this topic.
Connections between camps and cities or towns
In addition, ‘camp studies’ (see Minca, 2015; Martin et al., 2019) have long focused on the exclusionary dynamics of camps. More recently, however, spaces such as Palestinian refugee camps (see e.g. Ramadan, 2012; Sanyal, 2012, 2014; Martin, 2015; Oesch, 2017) or Lampedusa (Andrijasevic, 2010) have been analysed based on a critical use of Agamben’s theory (1998) of the space of exception. Scholars have shown that refugee and foreign worker camps or reception and detention centres are not totally disconnected from their local environment (Lafazani, 2013; Clochard et al., 2015). For example, residents or former detainees may represent a source of labour for the local economy. Equally, the establishment of camps can provide job opportunities for local workers. There is also the question of the relation between camps and urban space when it comes to infrastructure, materiality, spatial organisation, architecture and housing. Indeed, the links between camps and their surroundings should be further investigated. As such, we welcome contributions that look at the connections between the camps and the cities or towns in, or close to, which they are situated.
All participants in the conference will also be convened to take part in events bringing researchers and practitioners together, on topics including the architecture of camps and the connections between cities and camps across the global South and North.
No registration fees. Accommodation and catering during the conference are covered for presenters only.
-Lucas Oesch (University of Luxembourg)
-Léa Lemaire (University of Luxembourg)
-Birte Nienaber (University of Luxembourg)
-Jonathan Darling (Durham University)
-Ayham Dalal (TU Berlin)