SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

The UNHCR, Afghan Refugees and the Enforcement of the National Order

Dr Giulia Scalettaris (University of Lille)

Date: 12 November 2014Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 12 November 2014Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G52

Type of Event: Seminar

Dr Scalettaris' work analyses the intervention of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Afghan crisis and examines the scope of its action and the ways this organization exerts authority in the contemporary world. The thesis is based on a fieldwork of observing participation carried out within the UNHCR’s offices in Geneva and Kabul between 2006 and 2008. The agency is comprehended as a political body through an empirical as well as encompassing approach to power drawn on Foucault’s theory and on recent works in political anthropology. The analysis follows an innovative project launched in 2003 that considers mobility as a social and economic resource. Yet examining the unfolding of this project shows how the state-centred and nationalist worldview of the UNHCR leads it to participate in a mechanism devoted to emplace and illegalise the Afghan migrants. Paradoxically, the UNHCR strives to establish the same order, sedentary and centred around the nation-state, that sparks off the “problem” the agency is mandated to solve – it is this order itself which at the same time underpins its existence and legitimacy.
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Dr Giulia Scalettaris (University of Lille), The UNHCR, Afghan Refugees and the Enforcement of the National Order

About the speaker

Giulia Scalettaris is Lecturer in Migration Studies at the University of Lille and Research Associate at the Programme for the Study of Global Migration, Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Geneva. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Paris. Her research interests include the refugee regime, migration, humanitarianism, bureaucracy and expertise.

Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

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