Carceral junctions – stuckness and connectedness in camps
Professor Simon Turner (Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen)
Public Seminar Series
Wednesday, 28 October 2020, 5pm to 6pm
Hosted by Refugee Studies Centre
Public Seminar Series Michaelmas term 2020
Series convenors: Professor Matthew J Gibney and Professor Tom Scott-Smith
About the seminar
With their clearly demarcated borders, their monotonous housing and grid-like infrastructures, refugee settlements, shelters, hotspots and deportation sites stick out like a sore thumb in the landscape and give us the impression of being exceptional spaces. We would assume that the camp as a place of waiting and confinement surely leads to a sense of stuckness for those who are forced to live there. However, we should not let the aesthetics of the camp – its straight lines and monotonous housing – lead us to assume that life in the camps is simply set on stand-by. Similarly, we should not assume that the official objective of confinement – of stopping movement – is achieved. Empirical, ethnographic studies reveal that life in camps is more complex. While camps might at first sight signal immobility, they may also act as junctions for onward mobility. They may be perceived – and used – as steppingstones or waiting rooms for onward mobility. This is what my colleagues and I have termed ‘carceral junctions’; places that simultaneously incarcerate and connect. Related to this, we must not assume a link between physical immobility and existential stuckness, just as we must not equate mobility with freedom and agency.
In my presentation, I will try to unpack the concepts of confinement, stuckness and (im)mobility in relation to camps. Central to my chapter will be to add temporality to a debate that easily lends itself to spatial analyses. I will discuss how questions of anticipation – both in the sense of hope and in the sense of anxiety – qualify the sense of stuckness, arguing that stuckness is a question of whether one is able to see possible futures.
About the speaker
Simon Turner is Associate Professor at the Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen. His research interests include: gender - in particular masculinities; refugees - in particular refugee camps and humanitarian organizations; ethnic conflict and genocide; diaspora; invisibility, secrecy, rumours and conspiracy theories; and Burundi and Rwanda.
This seminar will be held via Zoom. Register online here
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