Institute for Social Justice

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Refugees In/Between States

In 2015, 244 million people lived outside their home of origin with numbers already reaching records in 2016. While the majority of these people are not refugees, the movement of people seeking asylum and particularly those doing so without formal documentation is invoking intense debate and anxiety in many societies across the globe. This theme aims to create an open and interactive forum for scholars and activists to reflect on some of the theoretical, political and ethical dimensions of the current ‘refugee crisis’ alongside other forms of global migration.


Thursday, 26 May 2016

On Crisis, Refugees, and the Right to the Human Condition – Nikolas Kompridis

The so-called refugee crisis in Europe raises questions about the value of the term “crisis” as a conceptual and diagnostic frame. After presenting a critique of the concept of crisis, I will take up Hannah Arendt’s reflections on statelessness and refugees, reconfiguring her “right to have rights” as the right to the human condition. Australian refugee and asylum policy involves a negation of that right by depriving stateless peoples the possibility of appearing as “human beings who belong to the world.”

A Well-Founded Fear of the Other – Costas Douzinas

Does asylum law fail? What are its ethical foundations? This talk will critically examine the ethical foundations of asylum and the many ways in which asylum law fails, and offer alternative ways to think about asylum and asylum law.


Friday, 27 May 2016

Roundtable Discussion: Overlapping Frames of Migration and Asylum

Joseph Carens, Paul Apostolidis and Louise Boon Kuo

While sometimes interconnected, different types of migratory practice and regimes of organisation often appear completely separate within both scholarship and practice. In this roundtable , we propose to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this approach. Three scholars will be invited to speak about the framework(s) within which they have been thinking about asylum and migration regimes and experiences while also exploring overlaps and/or disjunctures that might illuminate new possibilities for reflection. What emerges when we place these frameworks in conversation, for example around the policing of bodies, the blurring of formal and informal labour regimes and experiences of precarity (to name just a few)?Following the presentations
the floor will be opened for an interactive discussion within which activist, scholar and practitioner perspectives will be welcome.

Panel: The Ethics of Politics of Representation and Storytelling – Moderated by Kiran Grewal

In the wake of the mass mobilisation around the case of baby Asha and the ‘#Let them Stay’ campaign, the question of how to provoke and harness public outrage, counter xenophobic rhetoric and challenge government policies while doing justice to the agency and subjectivity of asylum seekers seems pressing. In this panel, we will explore the ethics and politics of representation and storytelling in refugee advocacy. The panel, comprising of scholars, activists and people with experience of seeking asylum themselves will reflect on the conditions under which people are currently able to speak, when and about what. We will then open the floor to consider how these reflections might help us when making strategic choices regarding how to respond to anti-refugee  policies and practices. How can we engage in effective ethical advocacy? How do we balance the costs and benefits of particular approaches? How do we position our responses in relation to dominant state/neoliberal logics? What are the tools available to us to maintain critical self-reflexivity in this process?


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