Dr. Georgina Ramsay will present this lecture in 3106 Posvar Hall.
Can the displacement of refugees continue to be understood as exceptional? The recent global increase in refugees has prompted calls to develop new solutions to displacement that focus on integrating refugees into the local economies of nations that receive them. Transforming refugees from economic burdens to economic benefits does not, however, resolve displacement: doing so only shifts the project of refugee protection from a supposedly humanitarian imperative to an economic incentive. Examining how political economy intersects with moral economy in the global refugee regime by drawing on fieldwork conducted with refugees in Uganda and Australia, Dr. Ramsay will describe efforts to incorporate refugees into local economies not only fail to resolve their displacement but serve to exacerbate it, with such “humanitarian exploits” transforming refugees from recipients of humanitarian aid to highly exploitable workers who are, in their words, unable to “make a life.” Not only is the displacement of refugees not exceptional: it is emblematic of an increasingly globalized experience of ordinary displacement through which citizenship and civic rights are stratified by reducing the value of human life to the potential to extract economic productivity.