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The panel engages with the concept of vulnerability to enhance the discussion on the articulation between humanitarianism and securitarianism in regimes of mobility. It welcomes fieldwork-based contributions on how institutional vulnerabilisation affects migrants' chances of hoping and commoning.
Vulnerability constitutes a biopolitical category that asylum seekers, and more broadly migrants, are required to embody and exhibit to gain access to care and rights. As part of migration management technologies, the concept of vulnerability informs institutional recognition of what and how migrants can aspire to. But how is vulnerability allocated, negotiated and contested in encounters at the borders? What inequalities are both hidden and revealed because of the uses of the vulnerability framework? How does this entangle with matters of sovereignty?
This panel explores the vulnerabilising effects of the processes of assessing, certifying and reducing migrants' vulnerability. How recent transformations in border regimes and geopolitical arrangements reconfigure the social attribution of the status of 'vulnerable'? If migrants are increasingly read as the threat to biosecurity while "national" citizens are all declared vulnerable, is the moral imperative of protecting "the vulnerables" being transfigured? What does this tell us about the shifting politics of life in the humanitarian-securitarian nexus at the border?
Furthermore, as a prioritising logic, vulnerability can reinforce social asymmetries among migrants. In this perspective, how does this affect the relationships between migrants, public services workers and activists, and among migrants themselves? Hence, how enduring institutional vulnerabilisation within a framework of increased securitarisation is affecting migrants' capabilities to hope and share? Are we witnessing a rebordering between previously compatible moral economies around commoning?
The panel welcomes ethnographically grounded contributions from all over the world discussing one or more of the above questions.
Accepted papers:Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -
Emilio Caja (University of Lisbon)