This panel examines the category of the 'refugee'. It shows how this status embodies multiple positionalities organized around relations of hospitality, forms of (im)mobility, and contested claims for sovereignty, as negotiated and troubled by refugees and citizens in everyday realms of sociality.
How do refugees reproduce and regenerate their political struggles across the borders of nation-states? How do their everyday practices subvert the political impotence legally and semantically etched on to the category of the "refugee"? This panel addresses questions of citizenship, hospitality, sovereignty, and state borders by focusing on the everyday life of refugees. The panelists explore the historical production and daily negotiation of the "refugee" status in various sociopolitical contexts including camps, cities, border towns and villages. They show how this status embodies multiple positionalities organized around sociopolitical relations of hospitality, various forms of mobility and immobility, and contested claims for sovereignty, as negotiated and troubled by refugees, citizens, and state institutions in everyday realms of sociality. Attending to these mundane interactions not only complicates the dominant narratives about refugees that either victimize or demonize them, but also reveals the deep connections between national borders, colonial histories, violence, and displacement. If the legal category of "refugee" builds on the idea of the nation as bounded in space by the inviolability of naturalized borders, cross-border and cross-boundary relations of hospitality on the ground continuously unsettle such neat presentations.