Accepted paper:

The dark side of Schengen: the European "refugee crisis" and the hidden temporalities of emergency


Cristiana Giordano (University of California, Davis)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, I address the politics of emergency in the context of the current European "refugee crisis," and focus on the practices that they enable and disable.

Paper long abstract:

Since the beginning of 2015, an unprecedented number of people from Middle Eastern and African countries have been crossing borders into and within Europe from the Mediterranean, the Balkans, through the English Channel, and other entry points throughout Europe. Unprecedented has also been the number of deaths resulted from such crossings. This time has been described by the media and various political actors as an "emergency" and a "crisis" that challenges the very core of European values and human rights principles. Calling this time an emergency implies responding to it, on the one hand, with humanitarian gestures of saving lives, and, on the other, with stricter borders control. In this talk, I focus on the temporality of emergency and the forms of care that it simultaneously enables and disables. I argue that to operate under the banner of an "emergency" precludes us to understand other temporalities of care and suffering that are nonetheless urgent to grapple with. In particular, I focus my paper on the practice of Italian ethno-psychiatry as one emerging technique that provides culturally appropriate therapeutic services exclusively to migrants, political refugees, and victims of torture and trafficking. I show that by introducing different temporalities of care, this therapeutic practice allows for a radical critique of psychiatric, legal, and moral categories of inclusion, and for a re-thinking of the political and phenomenological grounds of existence.

panel P21
Europe and its silences