Accepted Paper:

Cambodian refugees and naturalization  


Giovanna Cavatorta (University of Catania)

Paper short abstract:

This paper seeks to deal with the nowadays life of ‘Cambodian refugees’ in France. A critic's attitude forces us to problematize the ‘victim’ category, by focusing on the memories’ socialization which this population elaborate in the multicultural French society. By stressing on the naturalization we aim to complexify this collective identity.

Paper long abstract:

This paper is about a fieldwork with Cambodian refugees in Ile de France. More in particular it is focused, and identifies, Cambodian refugees which are passed through the French asylum dispositive. By following the critical anthropological perspective in refugees studies, aim of the ethnography is questioning the self-reduction which laws and subjectivity experts make, by constructing a refugee which is cultural and ethnical fixed.

Existential anthropology will be useful to approach refugees' experiences and memories in their social dimension. This forces us dealing with relations between the first and second generation, and face the silences which the 'survivors' deserve to their children in everyday interactions and growth. Silences which seem not to deal with the work which this diaspora make, consisting in a transnational activity of claiming recovery. It's by the articulation of this two expressions of the genocidal violence, which can help us to problematize the 'survivor' category. The enejeux is positioning their experiences, here and now, in the arriving national-state; this implies face the particular citizenship which French multicultural society promote. Anthropology, as the critique of the common sense, should so investigate how the self-evidences of a belonging are changed and perceived by those citizens; how the agency is mold, in the social and domestic, space by 'khmer' and 'french' cosmological references.

Focusing on the passage, this people chose, by refugees status to naturalization, ask us to reconsider analytic categories, and the interpretative violence into which social sciences can incur.

Panel W072
Mutuality at a distance - transnational social space