Featured Executive Session Roundtable

States of exception, governments of exclusion: shifting notions of citizenship and the struggle for migrant rights.

Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2:15 PM - 4:00 PM, San Jose Convention Center, MR 212 A

This panel considers the way the structural violence and inequities of global migration policies intensify the harm experienced by migrants fleeing war, generalized violence and extreme poverty of sending countries. In the absence of safe, legal channels of migration, migrants and asylum seekers are pushed into the desert and sea as Northern countries harden their borders; border crossers are detained indefinitely without due process, or deported back into harm’s way by an increasingly efficient security state. In the Middle East, Asia and Africa, supposedly temporary encampments become permanent cities of stateless people, representing a failure of collective action, and an abandonment of universalist claims of human rights. Members of this roundtable will draw on long-term ethnographic research with refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers to analyze the implications of recent shifts in global migration policies and possibilities for resistance.

Questions include the following:

• How does a retreat into narrow, exclusionary forms of citizenship criminalize migrants and create a climate of fear and hostility for all immigrants?
• How does rhetoric about exceptional and deserving immigrants devalue and ultimately dehumanize migrants deemed less worthy?
• In what ways do border walls and fences reconfigure and/or diminish the rights and citizenship of those that walls were purportedly meant to protect?
• How do the diffuse, adaptive, and mobile qualities of the border (for example shifting boundaries of exclusion and methods of enforcement) predicate modes of resistance to structural injustice that are also diffuse, adaptive, and mobile?
• How might migrants and their allies resist borders and build bridges with a variety of actors to promote and broaden the understanding of immigrant rights?
• What is the role of anthropology in understanding the contemporary context?
• Does anthropology have a role to play in challenging the violence against migrants?

Participants: Maurizio Albahari, Miguel Diaz-Barriga, Christine Kovic, Katherine McCaffrey, and Susan J. Terrio