The Business of Anthropology and the European Refugee Regime

by HEATH CABOT

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Metaphors of flooding and “flows” are often applied in the public sphere to the phenomena of displacement and migration, but there are also “waves” and “tides” of humanitarian actors, “voluntourists,” and researchers now focused on refugees. Humanitarian, security, and anthropological interventions in the European “refugee crisis” of 2015–16 often operate according to a shared logic of urgency and crisis. Key problems and pitfalls in current anthropological trends in the study of displacement on Europe's doorstep are linked to the business dimensions of anthropological work. The business of anthropology reinforces the European refugee regime, which makes border crossers into targets of policing, intervention, and study.