Governing refugees in raced markets: displacement and disposability from Europe’s frontier to the streets of Paris

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Forced displacement – the involuntary movement of people from their homes and livelihoods – has captured public attention through diverging discourses of humanitarianism and global xenophobia. 2.5 million asylum claims were lodged in the European Union (EU) in 2015–16 leading to national and region-wide strategies of border securitization. Refugee governance in the EU is marked by contradictory ideological positions where liberal humanitarianism, through refugee acceptance, dovetails with racial violence evidenced by ongoing detention and circuitous displacement. These divergent positions, and their resultant policies of refugee management, avoid the social reality of neoliberalisation as it pertains to widespread homelessness and work-related insecurity in major EU cities such as Paris. This disavowal occurs in a raced market and impedes the survival of refugees through insistence on self-reliance – a disciplinary logic endemic to neoliberalism and imposed on refugees upon relocation. I argue that self-reliance transforms refugees into disposable subjects in capitalism at various stages of the asylum process from escape and detention to relocation and ongoing displacement.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalReview of International Political Economy
Early online date13 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Nov 2020