Accepted Paper:

On Roma camps as spaces of (in)security and the need for a politics of the anthropology of security  
Ana Ivasiuc (Maynooth University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will expose what the anthropological analysis of the construction of Roma camps as spaces of (in)security can reveal about the discipline’s potential to enter in dialogue with the wider critical security studies, as well as why a politics of the anthropology of security is needed.

Paper long abstract:

In recent years, the camp, as space of containment and exclusion of undesirable immigrants, has been the target of theoretical interest and ethnographic attention. Locus of what Agamben saw as the grip of politics on 'bare life' and embodiment of contemporary 'securitarian neoliberalism', the camp is a rich location for ethnography and theorisation, but can also fruitfully be envisioned, with Feldman, in a 'nonlocal ethnography' of the current migration apparatus. In both cases, the camp is an (in)security space spanning the confluence of complex dynamics of (in)securitisation, constructed through anxiogenic discourses and security practices deployed by actors purporting to diminish insecurity.

In my paper, I will analyse the case of Roma camps in Rome which constitute spaces of (in)security at the nexus of discourses and routinised practices of (in)securitisation involving state (police, Carabinieri, policymakers), but also non-state actors (the Roma themselves, NGOs, neighbourhood committees, vigilante groups, social media networks). I will analyse the manifold intersections of security discourses and practices which, in various actors' utterances and routines, construct the camps as dangerous spaces, at the material level, but also as signifiers of wider social insecurities at the symbolic level. By underlining what such an ethnographic approach reveals about Roma camps as spaces of (in)security, I will illustrate how anthropology has the potential to inform academic debates beyond disciplinary boundaries. Finally, I will advance the necessity of articulating a politics of the anthropology of security whose primary aim would be to defamiliarise the naturalised and pervasive contemporary ideology of security.

Panel P095
Spaces of security [Anthropology of Security] [PACSA]