Guest Lecture by Gregory Feldman
Migrants, citizens, and states: Relocating the source of empowerment in a precarious world
Migrants feature as causes of great anxiety. As the proverbial "others", they are either feared for their strangeness or pitied for their suffering. In neither case are they empowered. This political logic not only silences the migrant, but also suggests that the citizen, secure in the state's warm embrace, remains free to either damn or save the migrant. Questioning the merits of this logic, this presentation argues that the citizen's life chances are not as secure as it appears, and that their precarity resembles that of the migrant if only to a lesser degree. From here, it argues that the state is not a reliable source of empowerment. Instead, that source is found in people's action to constitute public spaces based on the fact of human plurality and thus regardless of citizenship status.
Gregory Feldman is a political anthropologist interested in critical perspectives on sovereignty, action, migration, security, and technocracy. His geographic foci are Europe, North America, and Africa.
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