Campzenship: reimagining the camp as a social and political spaceCampzenship: reimagining the camp as a social and political space

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101 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article engages with current debates on the sociology of camps and camp-like institutions in contemporary society. Drawing on ethnographic material collected in Italy in ‘nomad camps’ where forcibly displaced Roma from former Yugoslavia were sheltered in the 1990s and 2000s, it argues that Agamben's conceptualisation of the camp as a space of exception, by constructing the camp as other to an idealised notion of citizenship and the rule of law, offers limited purchase for a sociological investigation of the complexity and ambivalence of social relations in and around camps as well as residents' everyday practices and experiences of political membership. Focusing on the resources, entitlements and ‘rights’ of camp residents and their interactions with state, regional and local authorities and non-governmental actors, this article invites to de-exceptionalise the camp and the experiences of its residents, and proposes the concept of ‘campzenship’ to capture the specific and situated form of political membership produced in and by the camp. Getting closer to the camp and its inhabitants through the adoption of an ethnographic gaze reveals the camp space as paradigmatic of the stratification and diversification of political membership in contemporary society, a social and political terrain where rights, entitlements and obligations are reshaped, bended, adjusted, neglected and activated by and through everyday interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalCitizenship Studies
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Keywords

  • asylum
  • camp
  • citizenship
  • Italy
  • Roma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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