To what extent are 'humanitarian interventions' in support of the economic security of displaced people, co-opted by dominant and ideologically driven visions of aspiration and achievement? How free are displaced people to identify and pursue their own livelihood and wider goals in such contexts?
In the 1990s, Harrell-Bond & Voutira highlighted the contribution of anthropology to understandings of forced migration, emphasising both its value in elucidating subjectivities and the lived experience, and connecting these critically to the kinds of political, policy and humanitarian responses made to refugees. Subsequently, scholars including George Marcus argued that geography had developed more socially and politically relevant lines of enquiry. Today, the 'thick' description offered by rich ethnographic accounts in combination with geographic insights into the intersection and interaction of social action in diverse spatial and temporal landscapes offers the prospect of analyses which integrate the lived experiences of the displaced, the socio-economic contexts in which they live, and the legal and political regimes to which they are subject. To what extent are 'humanitarian interventions' in support of the economic security of the displaced in situations of conflict and displacement, co-opted by dominant and perhaps ideologically driven visions of aspiration and achievement? To explore these points of departure in this panel, we welcome contributions that explore dimensions of livelihoods, employment and the discourse of self-reliance through trajectories of individual and collective experiences, and in the practices and policies of long term displacement. What kinds of economic opportunities are available to the displaced, via their own efforts or the efforts of institutional and other actors, and how do these interact with their familial, educational, political and other objectives? And what can taking a long view can tell us about the way that ideas are recycled in humanitarian and political circles?
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