On this page you will find links to my published work, and descriptions of works in progress.
(2017) International Political Theory and the Refugee Problem (New York: Routledge) (available here)
‘The refugee problem’ is a term that it has become almost impossible to escape. Although used by a wide range of actors involved in work related to forced migration, these actors do not often explain what exactly ‘the problem’ is that they are working to solve, leading to an unfortunate conflation of two quite different ‘problems’: the problems that refugees face and the problems that refugees pose.
Beginning from the simple, yet too often overlooked, observation that how one conceives of solving a problem is inseparable from what one understands that problem to be, this book explores the questions raised about how to address ‘the refugee problem’ if we recognise that there may not be just one problem, and that not all actors involved with the refugee regime conceive of their work as addressing the same problem. Utilising the work of Michel Foucault, the book first charts how different ‘problems’ lend themselves to particular kinds of solutions, arguing that the international refugee regime is best understood as developed to solve ‘the refugee (as) problem’, rather than refugees’ problems. Turning to the work of Hannah Arendt, the book then reframes ‘the refugee problem’ from the perspective of the refugee, rather than the state, and investigates the extent to which doing so can open up creative space for rethinking the more traditional solutions to ‘the refugee (as) problem’. Cases of refugee protest in Europe, and the burgeoning Sanctuary Movement in the UK, are examined as two sub-state and popular movements which could constitute such creative solutions to a reframed problem.
(2014) “Paradigm Shift of Business as Usual? An historical reappraisal of the ‘shift’ to securitisation of refugee protection”, Refugee Survey Quarterly 33(3): 69-92 Link
Abstract: This article argues that enhanced understanding of the inter-war period in the development of the international refugee regime can contribute to current debates on the extent to which current practices of “burden-shifting” – in the form of the externalisation and securitisation of asylum – betray the regime’s humanitarian origins as expressed by the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. It demonstrates, through archival research, that rather than being characterised by the humanitarian wish to relieve the plight of the displaced – a wish which, at times, fell victim to political/ideological manipulation – the development of the refugee regime was instead primarily concerned with burden-limiting, ethnic and racial harmony, and a technocratic approach to the “disposal” of refugees. This article concludes by suggesting that historical investigation of the development of the refugee regime can reveal the ways in which our “solutions” and how we measure their success are inseparable from our understanding of what the problem, and who the refugee, is – and that this understanding is perhaps not as simple as the traditional picture of a humanitarian concern for the protection of the displaced might suggest. It also emphasises the need to recognise the extent to which continued ahistorical reification of the refugee regime can entrench rather than “solve” the refugee problem.
(2017) “The Refugee Olympic Team at Rio 2016: Rallying Around Which Flag?” (co-authored with Faye Donnelly) (Open Democracy)
This article examines what the contestation over the flag used to represent Team Refugees at the Rio 2016 olympics reveals about the deeper underlying problematics of representation of displaced persons.
(2018) “Solidarity at the Margins: Arendt, Refugees and the Inclusive Politics of World-Making” (co-authored with Patrick Hayden) in Hannah Arendt on Freedom, Liberation and Revolution, K. Hiruta, ed. (Palgrave Macmillan)
This chapter addresses the contemporary relevance of Hannah Arendt’s reflections on refugees and the “right to have rights”, arguing for a solidarity-based approach to refugee protection.
(2018) “Hannah Arendt and International Law” in The Bloomsbury Companion to Hannah Arendt, P. Gratton and Y. Sari, eds. (Bloomsbury Academic)
This chapter provides a brief overview of Hannah Arendt’s views on the place and role of international law in (international) political life, focusing on her reflections on human rights and the trial of Adolf Eichmann. I argue that Arendt’s rather different views on the utility, or role, of international law in relation to these two issues is not the result of a shift from being an international law skeptic to an international law believer, but is reflective of her recognition of the inherent limits of international law in different areas of political life.
“Beyond Asylum Claims: Refugee Protest, Responsibility and the Entitlement to a Social and International Order for the Realisation of Human Rights” (International Journal of Human Rights)
This article examines refugee and asylum seeker protest in Europe, interpreting the substantive claims and demands of the protestors as Article 28 rights claims – claims to a social and international order for the realisation of human rights.