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Preview: Journal of Refugee Studies - current issue

Journal of Refugee Studies Current Issue





Published: Tue, 20 Jun 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:45:44 GMT

 



The History of Refugee Protection: Conceptual and Methodological Challenges

2017-06-20

Forced migration has always existed and yet societies and policy makers are regularly surprised by the arrival of refugees. Similarly, refugee studies is caught between the assertion that displacement and refugee protection are a constant phenomenon of our history and the presentness of its current policy relevance. Neither being wrong, both viewpoints run the risk of arguing a-historically, ignoring either precedents or transformations. The multi-disciplinary field of refugee studies lacks a reflection on conceptual, theoretical and methodological challenges of its historical perspective. Until recently, it faced a historiographical lacuna with few historians researching forced migration systematically and, in turn, little historical research being adopted in refugee studies (Marfleet 2007).



Seeing Like a Refugee Agency: A Short History of UNHCR Classifications in Central Africa (1961–2015)

2017-02-22

Abstract
This article looks at the evolution of international refugee protection, using the refugee classifications of UNHCR as an entry point. It is argued that, since the creation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), access to refugee aid has been globalized but has also become more and more stratified. The UNHCR has expanded its activities beyond the frontiers of Europe, but has also tailored aid for specific groups. This is because protection work increasingly articulates different modes of classifying refugees. Three modes of ordering are explored here in the Central African case: the legal approach, the labour (or developmental) approach and the basic needs (or vulnerability) approach. These modes refer to different regimes of action, different actors of protection and eventually different subjectivities. Each mode of classification, it is argued, is the product of a specific period of the UNHCR’s history.



Protection, Repatriation and Categorization: Refugees and Empire at the end of the Nineteenth Century

2017-01-07

Abstract
This article examines the generation and management of refugees in the Balkans in the late nineteenth century, with a particular focus on the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires. The violence of the Eastern Crisis of 1875–78 produced Muslims and Christian refugees at an unprecedented scale and rate. After surveying Habsburg and Ottoman traditions of refugee management, the article looks at the case of over 250,000 Christian refugees fleeing Ottoman Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Habsburg Empire, and argues that domestic and international political circumstances of the flight created new demands and opportunities for imperial governments. The Habsburg government created an extensive refugee aid programme, while the Ottoman Empire initiated a cooperative effort at repatriation. In each case, implementation of government policies shaped the category of refugee, attaching to it attributions of victimhood and immiseration while attempting to exercise state control over refugee movement.



Hospitality, Protection and Refuge in Early English Law

2016-08-25

Abstract
This article explores the ideas and values which underpinned legally recognized practices of providing protection to the vulnerable in Anglo-Saxon England (c. 500–1066). Prominent among these is sanctuary in churches but this should be understood as part of a wider tradition of offering refuge to those in danger, rooted in secular notions of hospitality and honour. Membership of a community in this period inhered in legally binding social relationships—reciprocal ties of kinship and hierarchical bonds modelled on the household—which simultaneously protected individuals from harm and established local sureties obliged to make good any harm they did. Outsiders, lacking such relationships, were both threatening and vulnerable. Hospitality was exceptional, in that hosts were entitled to protect guests without becoming liable for their actions. This allowed them to provide refuge to the vulnerable, from refugees to thieves, and the Anglo-Saxon elite may well have felt honour-bound to do so, but it was necessarily temporary. The host–guest relationship expired after a few days, theoretically leaving thieves in danger and refugees needing to form less advantageous but sustainable long-term relationships.



Exile, Refuge and the Greek Polis: Between Justice and Humanity

2016-08-20

Abstract
This article addresses the place of exiles and refugees in the Greek poleis (city-states), with a focus on the later Classical and Hellenistic periods (c. 400–100 bc). It examines the different forms of protection and aid granted by Greek poleis and their citizens to people displaced through war and civil strife. Its main focus is the range of arguments and ideals advanced by ancient Greeks as grounds for granting these forms of protection and aid to exiles and refugees. Displaced Greeks and their hosts could, for example, present aid to displaced groups as guided or inspired by justice, law, freedom and shared Greek identity. Alternatively, in a move which became increasingly prominent in formal political contexts in the period considered here, they could present help to the displaced principally as a matter of respecting unconditional ethical ties binding together all humans, or all ‘citizens of the world’. This article argues that the diverse range of relevant Greek practices and values both reflected and helped to shape complex and shifting ancient Greek ideas about the city, citizenship, democracy, justice, freedom, virtue and gender. Throughout its argument, the article draws connections and contrasts between ancient Greek and modern liberal practices and ideology, and their underpinnings in broader ethical and political ideals. Modern liberal practices and values concerning aid to refugees draw on, and combine, the approaches and traditions evident in the ancient Greek world, as well as diverging from them in revealing ways.



Protecting Refugees in the Weimar Republic

2016-05-23

Abstract
After the end of the First World War, Germany developed into the most important European destination country for refugees, displaced persons, and resettlers. With the First World War and the political transformations that followed it, politically controlled and politically motivated movement of people increased in importance. Mass migrations accompanied especially the Russian Civil War and the state-building process in Eastern, East-Central, and South Eastern Europe. It can be assumed that by the mid-1920s, around 10 million people crossed borders due to the political chances in Europe after the First World War. The goal of the contribution is to investigate key parameters of the political discussion about the admission of forced migrants in Germany, asking about the actions and reactions of state institutions with the background of a changed migration situation after the end of the First World War in the framework of numerous additional actors, each with their own specific interests. It also includes the process of negotiating asylum in the Weimar Republic under particular consideration of the actions of state institutions.



Refugees and the Roman Empire

2016-05-14

Abstract
Up to the mid-fourth century AD, the language of refuge regularly appears in Roman sources in the context of frontier management. It is employed both of high-status individuals, but also—more strikingly—of very much larger groups: certainly several tens of thousands of individuals, and sometimes apparently over 100,000 strong. The basic political economy of the Empire—powered by unmechanized agricultural production in a world of low overall population densities—meant that there was always a demand for labour, and, in the right circumstances, refugees could expect reasonable treatment. Provided that their arrival posed no military or political threat to imperial integrity, refugees would receive not only lands to cultivate on reasonable terms, but might also be settled in concentrations large enough to preserve structures of broader familial and even cultural identity. In other circumstances, however, imperial control was enforced by direct military action and survivors were sold into slavery and might themselves redistributed as individuals in adverse socio-economic conditions over very wide geographical areas. In the late fourth and early fifth centuries, a distinct change becomes apparent in imperial policy. Some very large particularly Gothic refugee groups were granted lands within the Empire on terms which broke with long-established Roman norms. These groups were so large and retained so much autonomy that they posed a distinct threat to the continued integrity of imperial rule over the particular regions in which they were settled. Over time, some of the settlements eventually became the basis of independent successor kingdoms as the power of the west Roman centre unravelled. This transition poses an obvious question. Why did traditional Roman policy towards refugees change so markedly in the late imperial period?



The Dawn of International Refugee Protection: States, Tacit Cooperation and Non-Extradition

2016-04-23

Abstract
There is a long history of state efforts to provide refugee protection prior to the twentieth century—one that can be traced from the flight of the Huguenots in 1685 through the French Revolution and political refugee flows in the nineteenth century. It is during this period that many of the normative understandings we now accept as the foundation of the modern refugee regime were first created: that refugees were distinct from other migrants, that they required protection because of this status and that this status should be based in law. These norms were tacit or informal—states acted on an ad hoc basis and undertook a responsibility only towards the refugees who crossed their borders. Even so, shared understandings around refugee protection were first created as domestic state legislation and practice, and then transmitted across the European state system through the mechanism of extradition treaties. This system worked for a time because the numbers were small and because policies of open migration allowed the vast majority of religious refugees to avoid this system entirely.



Refugees and Refugee Protection in the Early Modern Period

2016-04-14

Abstract
The persecution of religious and/or ethnic minorities in early modern Europe was a rather common phenomenon. The Alhambra Edict of 1492, followed by the expulsion of some 150,000–165,000 Sephardi Jews from the territories of the Catholic Monarchs and the Edict of Fontainebleau of 1685 are but two of the best-known incidents causing the dispersion of some hundred thousand people, confronting Europe with the need to accommodate refugees on a large scale. However, up to the present day, research on early modern religious and/or ethnic minorities, migrations and refugee protection has rarely looked at the entangled and parallel histories of these groups; comparative studies are scarce. Most of the latter focus on one minority or group of refugees. More often than not, they ignore entangledness and similarities which come together with historical and group specificities. This chapter discusses refugee protection in early modern Europe and its imperial states’ colonies in three sub-chapters: the first part looks at persecution, emigration and/or the expulsion of religious and/or ethnic minorities in the period between 1492 and 1789; the second part analyses the motives and actors behind refugee protection; and the third part is about the legal status of religious and/or ethnic refugees in early modern Europe and her colonies.



Refugees—What’s Wrong with History?

2016-04-11

Abstract
This article outlines the current contours of refugee history and charts a way forward. It begins by asking what future historians will write about forced migration in and around the Mediterranean during 2015–16, and how such a history could entail ‘thinking through oceans’, not just the nation state. Noting the absence of refugees from mainstream historiography, the article traces a history of population displacement in the modern world that is attentive to connections between the circumstances, actions and trajectories of refugees through time and space. This work takes account of histories of categorization (’making up people’) and changes over time to the refugee regime and to humanitarian aid. This broad matrix of relations and practices can be conceptualized as ‘refugeedom’. Given the focus of this special issue, protection is discussed in relation to institutional arrangements, but also to the meanings and forms of refugees’ self-protection in refugee camps. Finally, the article draws attention to refugees’ own engagement with history.