Civil modalities of refugee trauma, death and necrological transport

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

In this essay, I focus on seemingly benign and innocuous civil sites, spaces and technologies ~ such as hotel rooms, demountables and shipping containers and proceed to argue that, once these civil sites and technologies are situated within geopolitical relations of biopower, they become instrumental in the production of refugee trauma and death. I term the trauma and violence that refugees experience in the context of everyday civilian life 'vernacular violence'. In the process of examining how hotel rooms and containers are instrumentalised by western governments into prisons, I question the line of demarcation between the civil and the penal. I argue that what is in fact operative is a type of biopolitical power predicated on the exercise of 'civil penality'. In the latter part of the essay, I track the manner in which civil penality and vernacular violence inscribe, for refugees from the Global South, such technologies of civil transport as planes, ships and trucks. Situated within violently unequal relations of geopolitical power, these civil technologies of transport generate fundamentally disjunctive ontologies that interrogate the line of demarcation between 'letting-die' and 'making-die'.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiving through terror
Subtitle of host publication(post)trauma, (post)conflict and the south
EditorsSuvendrini Perera, Antonio Traverso
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Pages142-158
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780415614474
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

Previously published in Social identities, Vol. 15, No. 1, (2009), p.149-165.

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  • Cite this

    Pugliese, J. (2011). Civil modalities of refugee trauma, death and necrological transport. In S. Perera, & A. Traverso (Eds.), Living through terror: (post)trauma, (post)conflict and the south (pp. 142-158). London: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.