Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: American Ethnological Society
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists
Primary Theme: Immigration/Migration/Citizenship
Secondary Theme: Policy
With nearly twenty people unwillingly displaced every minute because of conflict or persecution, forced migration is one of the fast-growing challenges in the world (UNHCR 2017). Human suffering and moral imperatives to alleviate it largely shape public and academic discourses that underpin emergency responses and trigger intellectual critique of humanitarian governance. This strengthens the conventional perceptions of unsettled people as the objects of care and victims. However, anthropological perspective can challenge this understanding, exploring what can be learned from the migrants’ experiences of unexpected mobility as well as confinement, conflict, and uncertainty.
This panel introduces papers that critically discuss how displaced people actively cope with forced migration, and how they navigate changing environments and landscapes. The central theme of the panel calls to shift the anthropological focus from studying the “suffering subjects” (Robbins 2013, also Ortner 2016, Ticktin 2014) to proactive responses and agency of those affected.
Among the central themes of the panel are: strategies and everyday tactics that forced migrants employ in response to displacement; understandings of security, belonging, and home in times of raising walls and increased forced im/mobility; responses to regulatory policies and informal practices of belonging under protracted displacement and conflict; navigation of unpredictability and ambivalence; strategies of resilience and flexibility; transformations of social identities and migrants’ self-making.