Haunting closures: Sovereign power, camp closures, and fear in everyday life

Authors: Yolanda Weima*, York University
Topics: Political Geography, Africa
Keywords: Camps, Refugees, Violence, Security, Haunting
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 4:30 PM / 6:10 PM
Room: Virginia A, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The temporariness of encampment, and the liminalities and ontological insecurities this creates for those encamped, is widely understood as one of the defining features of camp spatio-temporality (Turner, 2015; Hyndman & Giles,2016). Yet while temporariness implies an ending, few have studied the actual events and spaces of camp closures and return, or their afterlives. I address the gap in research on closures and return, by drawing on life-history research with Burundian refugees in camps in Tanzania, the majority of whom have previously been refugees at least once before, and experienced prior camp closures and return. Now, memories of past camp closures permeate diverse aspects of everyday life in camps, particularly as past closures are mentioned in official discourse as future closures are threatened. Geographers including Mountz (2011) and Coddington (2011) have proposed “haunting” as an analytic for studying how state sovereignties, biopolitical technologies, and colonial pasts and presents pervade daily life. In this paper I ask, how does “haunting” augment our geographical understanding of the displacement and violence of camp closures?

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