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The question of representation remains at the heart of efforts to understand and to influence the human condition. In myriad ways, this is an especially acute question for those who find themselves forcibly displaced from state and/or nation. In the absence of political franchise, what kinds of representation are possible for refugees and stateless persons? In the context of dominant national culture, how have displaced persons emerged in media and popular discourse? To what extent do refugees, the internally displaced and stateless persons remain inscribed within discourses of victimisation and dependency, on the one hand, and criminalisation and social deviance, on the other?

The Refugee Studies Centre (RSC) at the University of Oxford convened a two-day workshop on the theme of ‘Representation and Displacement: Refugees, IDPs and Stateless Persons in State and Nation’ in Oxford on 9-10 February 2007. Interested early-career researchers from Africa and Asia, in the first instance, were invited to submit paper abstracts, along with scholars from Latin America and the Middle East.

This workshop aimed to encourage interdisciplinary re-examination of the representation of displacement and displaced persons, particularly in the context of Africa, Asia and other regions in the ‘Global South’. It is hoped that revised versions of the papers in the form of a theoretically informed and critically engaged edited collection.