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A podcast of this seminar is now available. 


Refugee camps are imbued in the public imagination with assumptions of anarchy, danger and refugee passivity. Governing Refugees: Justice, Order and Legal Pluralism marshals empirical data and ethnographic detail to challenge such assumptions, arguing that refugee camps should be recognised as spaces where social capital can not only survive, but thrive. In this talk, Dr McConnachie will examine themes of community governance, order maintenance and legal pluralism in the context of refugee camps on the Thailand-Burma border. The nature of a refugee situation is such that multiple actors take a role in camp management, creating a complex governance environment which has a significant impact on the lives of refugees. This situation also speaks to deeply important questions of legal and political scholarship, including the production of order beyond the state, justice as a contested site, and the influence of transnational human rights discourses on local justice practice. Dr McConnachie's book presents valuable new research into the subject of refugee camps as well as an original critical analysis. 

about the speaker

Dr Kirsten McConnachie is the Joyce Pearce Junior Research Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall and the Refugee Studies Centre. She is a socio-legal researcher and her work investigates law, justice and governance as it affects refugee populations. Her primary research project at present is a comparative study of security and self-governance strategies among refugees from Myanmar in Southeast Asia. Wider research interests include anthropology of law, transitional justice, and the governance of refugee camps.

Kirsten has published in the areas of forced migration studies, criminology and transitional justice, with articles in (among others) the European Journal of Criminology, Social & Legal Studies, and the Journal of Human Rights Practice. She is the author of Governing Refugees: Justice, Order and Legal Pluralism (Routledge 2014). Her research has been supported by awards from the John Fell Fund, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Emslie Horniman Fund of the Royal Anthropological Institute and the Northern Ireland Department of Education and Learning.

She holds a PhD from Queen's University Belfast, an LLM in the Law of Armed Conflict (Distinction) from the University of Nottingham, an LLB from the University of Glasgow and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2004.  She teaches on the MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies at the Refugee Studies Centre, offering a course option on ‘Refugee Camps and Containment'. 

Light refreshments will be provided after the event. 

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Kirsten McConnachie People

Governing Refugees: Justice, Order and Legal Pluralism Publications

Burma's Refugees: Self-Governance in Comparative Perspective Research

Refugee and Forced Migration Studies: The state of the art News & Media