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Title: Refugee Protests and Political Agency: Framing Dissensus through Precarity
Authors: Pali, Brunilda
Kremmel, Katrin
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Palgrave
Host Document: Green Harms and Crimes pages:256-272
Abstract: In the last two decades we have witnessed an unprecedented number of refugee protests, which have profoundly challenged both the humanitarian and the security discourses on refugees. The humanitarian discourse speaks of a subject who is in need of care and protection, while the security discourse points at the refugee as a ‘dangerous’ agent disturbing the public/national order. What both discourses have in common is the silencing of the political agency of the refugees.
In this chapter we read the refugee movements, focusing on the case of the Vienna protests which started in 2012 by framing the refugees as political agents, and their actions as constituting political action. The chapter starts by contextualizing the debate about political agency through the work of Hannah Arendt on statelessness. Within her framework of thought, refugees would have to belong to a body politic before they could make demands as political subjects. Furthermore, according to Arendt, political action must be free of life necessities. We challenge both claims and argue that the protest constitutes political action, precisely because the refugees take agency despite their lack of the ‘right to have rights’, through the staging of their precarity and life necessities.
ISBN: 978-1-137-45625-0
VABB publication type: VABB-4
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IHb
Appears in Collections:Leuven Institute of Criminology (LINC)

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