The Refugee: Contested Resettlement and the Borders of Mass Destruction

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Christopher KYRIAKIDES, York University, Canada
This presentation is drawn from an on-going 5-year study of the reception of Syrian refugees in 5 countries – Canada, the US, Jordan, Greece and Italy. The presentation will draw specifically on preliminary results from the Canadian context. Kyriakides’ focus is on the Canadian government’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program which in 2015 enacted specific entry requirements in response to ‘the Syrian refugee crisis’. In-depth interviews with a purposive sample of 105 participants drawn from private sponsor groups, public agencies and sponsored Syrian refugees in their first year of resettlement in Ontario, Canada, reveal that ‘successful resettlement’ is contested. Persons-of-self-rescue actively transition to a we-for-self-rescue against the disconfirming ‘forces’ of displacement. Active-existence - deliberative practices of relational-autonomy - destabilizes Western reception protocols premised on voluntary/involuntary binaries with consequential effects on resettlement. Kyriakides’ proposes the concept of ‘status eligibilities’, which includes the related conceptual components of ‘eligibility to exist’ and ‘authority to act’. Post-refuge ‘status eligibilities’ inconsistent with active-existence can lead to a ‘refusal to resettle’.