Hospitality within hostility: safe migration management in the Mekong

October 14, 2016

The annual Australian Anthropology Conference is approaching (12-15 December 2016). Besides co-chairing a panel on Humanitarianism in the Time of Anthropocene I will also present a paper in a related panel on Hospitalities in Transition. I am very existed about this as it will be one of my first opportunities to share some ethnographic musings relating to my current fieldwork. 


Title and abstract of my paper are pasted below:


Hospitality within hostility: safe migration management in the Mekong


How do hospitable policies unfold within a context of hostility? “Safe migration” is an emergent modality of migration governance advocated by United Nations agencies, non-governmental organisations and even Governments in the Mekong region. Rather than attempting to prevent or deter migration, these programmes aim to safeguard migrant’s well-being. Yet, such programmes operate within a broader climate of general hostility toward migrants in the form of deportation, imprisonment and a range of other discriminatory practices. Based on fieldwork amongst aid programmes in the Mekong region, this paper reflects on how a politics of hospitality - glossed in policy terms as “safety” - is instrumentalised within a broader hostile environment for migrant workers. 





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