Displaced Citizens and Abject Living: The Categorical Discomfort with Subjects Out of Place
The authors argue that the political exclusion of displaced people living within states under a variety of humanitarian and policy categories is simultaneously constitutive of mainstream political belonging and social belonging for those excluded. Based on long-term research engagement with displacement in Georgia, Jordan and Sudan, they analyse situations in which an initial crisis-based humanitarian status has become protracted, and in which people have been labelled both forced migrants and citizens, giving rise to tensions with the mainstream but also creating social identities that foster belonging from experiences of exclusion. By analysing these processes as abjection–forms of state control and boundary-making that exclude members from what requires their inclusion–they show that a type of ambiguous citizenship emerges from protracted situations of displacement. People ‘out of place’ but within a state exclude themselves from full citizenship rights by nurturing an alternative status derived from their experiences with displacement regimes. When established and enduring for a lengthy period, such displacement statuses become social categories and identities through processes of abjection. The authors conclude that citizenship itself becomes ambiguous through norms of belonging, the formation of new social categories, and because forced migrants help to constitute the political.
Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift
abject citizenship, exclusion, humanitarian categories, protracted displacement
Brun, Cathrine; Fàbos, Anita; and El-Abed, Oroub, "Displaced Citizens and Abject Living: The Categorical Discomfort with Subjects Out of Place" (2017). International Development, Community, and Environment. 7.