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Urbanizing refuge: interrogating spaces of displacement

Sanyal, Romola (2014) Urbanizing refuge: interrogating spaces of displacement. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 38 (2). pp. 558-572. ISSN 0309-1317

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1468-2427.12020


Refugee spaces are emerging as quintessential geographies of the modern, yet their intimate and everyday spatialities remain under-explored. Rendered largely through geopolitical discourses, they are seen as biopolitical spaces where the sovereign can reduce the subject to bare life. In conceptualizing refugee spaces some scholars have argued that, although many camps grow and develop over time, they evolve their own unique form of urbanism that is still un-urban. This article challenges this idea of the camp as space of pure biopolitics and explores the politics of space in the refugee camp using urban debates. Using case studies from the Middle East and South Asia, it looks at how the refugee spaces developed and became informalized, and how people recovered their agency through ‘producing spaces’ both physically and politically. In doing so, it draws connections between refugee camps and other spaces of urban marginality, and suggests that refugee spaces can be seen as important sites for articulating new politics.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 The Author © CC BY 3.0
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD100 Land Use
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2014 14:25
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:18
Funders: Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship, Al-Falah Fellowship from the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley, Spiro Kostof Fellowship from the Department of Architecture, UC Berkeley

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