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States in crisis: sovereignty, humanitarianism, and refugee protection in the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq War

Ali, Perveen (2012) States in crisis: sovereignty, humanitarianism, and refugee protection in the aftermath of the 2003 Iraq War. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Although the refugee protection regime is grounded in principles of international human rights and refugee law aimed at protecting individuals from abuses of state power, in practice it still privileges and produces state sovereignty. Principles of protection can become subverted to serve state interests, normalising the increasingly exceptional treatment of refugees. The tensions that result from this paradox, however, may also present opportunities for contesting and denaturalising such exceptionalism. This thesis explores this phenomenon as it emerged in the post-2003 Iraqi refugee crisis. Grounded in Agamben’s work on sovereignty and the “state of exception”, it considers how sovereignty and exceptionalism were expressed through biopolitics and governmentality in the governance of refugees. Using methods of critical legal geography, it maps and analyses how state, institutional, and individual practices reproduced, intersected with, or contested sovereignty and exceptionalism in four spaces of the Iraqi refugee crisis: the Iraqi state, host states in the region, camps in the borderlands, and resettlement. This thesis argues that Iraqi refugees, their legal status, and the spaces they occupied came to embody the contests for identity, power, and authority lodged between states, local actors, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In the process, the technologies of power deployed in the governance of these spaces revealed the persistence and proliferation of the logic of sovereignty. Yet at the same time, they also created opportunities to expose and un-work sovereign violence and to envision forms of protection beyond the state

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Perveen Ali
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > Law
Supervisor: Salomon, Margot and Pottage, Alain and Beyani, Chaloka

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