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Carceral Humanitarianism

Logics of Refugee Detention

2017
Author:

Kelly Oliver

Carceral Humanitarianism

Considering the uneasy alliance between humanitarian aid, human rights, and military operations

Coopted by military operations, humanitarianism has never been neutral. Rather than welcoming refugees, host countries assess the relative risks of taking them in versus turning them away, using a risk-benefit analysis that often reduces refugees to collateral damage in proxy wars fought in the war on terrorism. Carceral Humanitarianism testifies that humanitarian aid and human rights discourse are always political and partisan.

Coopted by military operations, humanitarianism has never been neutral. Rather than welcoming refugees, host countries assess the relative risks of taking them in versus turning them away, using a risk-benefit analysis that often reduces refugees to collateral damage in proxy wars fought in the war on terrorism. Carceral Humanitarianism testifies that humanitarian aid and human rights discourse are always political and partisan.

Carceral Humanitarianism

Kelly Oliver is W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.

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