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Reclaiming Politics In The Bureaucratic Space Of A Burundian Refugee Camp In Tanzania

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Chapter Summary

Refugee camps are carefully governed spaces, marked by the humanitarian imperative to help what is conceived as the helpless victims of war. In this managed, secluded and bureaucratic space politics is perceived by the humanitarian agencies in charge as divisive and destructive of the social fabric of the refugee community which is considered volatile in the first place. This chapter argues that despite these attempts to stamp out politics, camp life is highly politicised. It explores how violent events in the camp are interpreted through rumours that differentiate the camp into hierarchically ordered spaces; hot spots and cool places, places of mobility and action and places of docility and stagnation, safe havens and dangerous territory, and areas for friends and for enemies. The setting is Lukole Refugee Camp in Northwestern Tanzania where roughly 100,000 Burundian Hutu refugees had lived for up to five years.

Keywords: bureaucratic space; Burundian Hutu refugees; camp life; humanitarian agencies; Lukole refugee camp; Northwestern Tanzania; politics; violent events

10.1163/ej.9789004171282.i-347.59
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004171282.i-347.59
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