Managing the Undesirables / Edition 1

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Official figures classify some fifty million of the world's people as 'victims of forced displacement'. Refugees, asylum seekers, disaster victims, the internally displaced and the temporarily tolerated - categories of the excluded proliferate, but many more are left out of count. In the face of this tragedy, humanitarian action increasingly seems the only possible response. On the ground, however, the 'facilities' put in place are more reminiscent of the logic of totalitarianism. In a situation of permanent catastrophe and endless emergency, 'undesirables' are kept apart and out of sight, while the care dispensed is designed to control, filter and confine. How should we interpret the disturbing symbiosis between the hand that cares and the hand that strikes? After seven years of study in the refugee camps, Michel Agier reveals their 'disquieting ambiguity' and stresses the imperative need to take into account forms of improvisation and challenge that are currently transforming the camps, sometimes making them into towns and heralding the emergence of political subjects. A radical critique of the foundations, contexts, and political effects of humanitarian action.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"One of the most important books on humanitarian assistance toemerge in several years."

"An impassioned and tireless explorer of 'useless' and hence'undesirable' populations, Michel Agier asks here about theirfuture: how can they be returned to the human family, brought backfrom non-existence into the social world, from the camp to thetown, from a life without time into history? How can theyrediscover a place on the map of the world, and pass from thestatus of reject to that of subject? Urgent and indispensablereading for all who reflect on action to be taken, or are called onto take such action."

Zygmunt Bauman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745649016
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/2/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michel Agier is an anthropologist and director of studies at the Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.

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Table of Contents

List of acronyms
Introduction: From Vulnerable to Undesirable
Part One: A World of Undesirables, a System of Camps
Chapter 1. Refugees, Displaced, Expelled: the Itinerary of the Stateless
Chapter 2. Refugee Camps Today. An Attempted Inventory
Part Two: Everyday Life in the Twenty-First Century's Refugee Camps
Chapter 3. An Ethnologist in the Refugee Camps
Chapter 4. The Interminable Insomnia of Exile. The Camp as an Ordinary Exceptionalism
Chapter 5. Experiences of Wandering, Borders and Camps: Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea
Chapter 6. Surviving, Reviving, Leaving, Remaining. The Long Life of Angolan Refugees in Zambia
Chapter 7. The Camp-Towns. Somalia in Kenya
Chapter 8. In the Name of the Refugees. Political Representation and Action in the Camps
Chapter 9. Who Will Speak Out in the Camp? A Study of Refugees' Testimony
Part Three: After the Camps
Chapter 10. If this is a town
Chapter 11. If this is a world
Chapter 12. If this is a government

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