#LetThemStay#BringThemHere: Embodied politics, asylum seeking, and performativities of protest opposing Australia’s Operation Sovereign Borders, Paul Hodge
The body is the object of border protection. Yet the body remains largely outside reigning notions of the political in debates on bordering practices and challenges to it. Exploring what bodies do in their performativity as they negotiate and resist the securitisation of forced migration can open up new ways of understanding the disruptive potential of the body. In this paper, I draw on Judith Butler’s seminal work on contingency and norms of existence, along with her musings on forms of assembly, and recent feminist scholarship on social movements, to think through what the #LetThemStay and #BringThemHere protests in Australia might signal as advocates for those seeking asylum put their bodies on the line to disrupt the federal government’s border protection policy – Operation Sovereign Borders. While people seeking asylum themselves are at the bodily forefront of opposition and resistance – their bodies and bodily tactics negotiating border enforcement technologies – it is the bodily performativities of advocates for those seeking asylum that are the focus of this paper. The paper describes the way linguistic and bodily performativity coalesce in these performativities of protest as advocates embody the sociality being asserted. By making explicit the embodied politics at play in these forms of assembly, I explore the transformative potential of the body in its myriad capacities adding to long-standing feminist calls for a ‘corporeal geopolitics’ in political geography, one that centres the already existing politics of bodies.
Keywords : Corporeal geopolitics, Judith Butler, crafting recognisability, asylum seeking, political geography, social movements
Seeing like a border city: Refugee politics at the borders of city and nation-state, Julie EE Young
Local advocacy practices in Detroit–Windsor in response to the refugee “crisis” that unfolded around the Canada–US border in early 1987 revealed a different way of working with the border in the city. They were “seeing like a border city”: working as though Detroit–Windsor were one place, even as they made use of the ways in which it remained two distinct places with different political and legal contexts. Advocates mobilized resources and expertise on both sides of the border, drawing on the sense of community offered by the city, and made use of the distinct policy frameworks, securing legal status for refugees who had been consigned to legal limbo through the policies of both states. This approach troubled the state’s logic of border control even as it refortified the boundaries of exclusion underlying it. Their work highlights the possibilities and limitations of advocacy work around an international boundary line.
Keywords : Border cities, Canada–US border, Detroit–Windsor, refugee policy, advocacy
Elasticity at the Canada–US border: Jurisdiction, rights, accountability , Emily Gilbert
Borders are being stretched as they are deterritorialized, reterritorialized and extra-territorialized. But borders are not only being relocated elsewhere: just as they are extended they are also snapped back into place in order to limit the rights of travellers and migrants, and to deny the accountability of border officials. This elasticity—expansion but also contraction—is the focus of this paper, with particular attention to the Canada–US border with respect to how legal jurisdiction is being reworked territorially, and the ways that the law gets attached to particular bodies. Three contemporary case studies are examined: the Safe Third Country Agreement, the Shiprider program, and the expansion of preclearance programs. While each of these cases is quite different in that they deal with asylum seekers, cross-border policing, and extra-territorial customs programs, together they illustrate how borders are being made elastic, and with what political implications.
Keywords : Borders, Canada, United States, jurisdiction, accountability