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Violent inaction: the necropolitical experience of refugees in Europe

Davies, Thom; Isakjee, Arshad; Dhesi, Surindar


Arshad Isakjee

Surindar Dhesi


A significant outcome of the global crisis for refugees has been the abandonment of forced migrants to live in makeshift camps inside the EU. This paper details how state authorities have prevented refugees from surviving with formal provision, leading directly to thousands having to live in hazardous spaces such as the informal camp in Calais, the site of this study. We then explore the violent consequences of this abandonment. By bringing together thus far poorly integrated literatures on bio/necropolitics (Michel Foucault; Achille Mbembe) and structural violence (Johan Galtung), we retheorize the connections between deliberate political indifference towards refugees and the physiological violence they suffer. In framing the management of refugees as a series of violent inactions, we demonstrate how the biopolitics of migrant control has given way to necropolitical brutality. Advancing geographies of violence and migration, the paper argues that political inaction, as well as action, can be used as a means of control.


Davies, T., Isakjee, A., & Dhesi, S. (2017). Violent inaction: the necropolitical experience of refugees in Europe. Antipode, 49(5), 1263-1284.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 21, 2017
Online Publication Date Apr 21, 2017
Publication Date 2017-11
Deposit Date Oct 29, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 29, 2018
Journal Antipode
Print ISSN 0066-4812
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 49
Issue 5
Pages 1263-1284
Keywords necropolitics, violence, migration, Calais, camps, abandonment
Public URL
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