Bioethics Blogs

In the Journals, February 2016 Part I by Melanie Boeckmann

This month’s reading list, part I

American Ethnologist

The 2015 Refugee Crisis in Europe: Forum

Representing the “European refugee crisis” in Germany and beyond: Deservingness and difference, life and death

Seth M. Holmes, Heide Castaneda

The European refugee crisis has gained worldwide attention with daily media coverage both in and outside Germany. Representations of refugees in media and political discourse in relation to Germany participate in a Gramscian “war of position” over symbols, policies, and, ultimately, social and material resources, with potentially fatal consequences. These representations shift blame from historical, political-economic structures to the displaced people themselves. They demarcate the “deserving” refugee from the “undeserving” migrant and play into fear of cultural, religious, and ethnic difference in the midst of increasing anxiety and precarity for many in Europe. Comparative perspectives suggest that anthropology can play an important role in analyzing these phenomena, highlighting sites of contestation, imagining alternatives, and working toward them.

Immobilizing mobility: Border ethnography, illiberal democracy, and the politics of the “refugee crisis” in Hungary

Annastiina Kallius, Daniel Monterescu, Prem Kumar Rajaram

In the summer of 2015, more than 350,000 migrants moved through Hungarian territory. Almost immediately there emerged in response a dialectic between, on the one hand, depoliticizing narratives of crisis that sought to immobilize the migrants and, on the other, concrete political mobilization that sought to facilitate their mobility. While state institutions and humanitarian volunteer groups framed mobility in terms that emphasized a vertical form of politics, a horizontal counterpolitics arose by the summer’s end, one that challenged hegemonic territorial politics. The state’s efforts to immobilize resulted only in more radical forms of mobility.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.