Alessandro Monsutti gives prestigious refugee studies lecture.
On Wednesday last week, Professor Monsutti gave the Refugee Studies Centre's Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture at the University of Oxford. The lecture was entitled "States, Sovereignties and Refugees: A View from the Margins?"
The beginning of the lecture discussed the ever-evolving meaning of the concepts “state” and “sovereignty” and argued that we are not facing the ultimate crisis of the nation-state. Professor Monsutti pointed out that one of the most striking features of today’s world might be the coexistence between the generalisation of the nation-state as the entity that organises world politics and the increased scope of action and visibility of transnational non-state actors.
The second part of the lecture examined the position of refugees in a world of shifting and overlapping sovereignties. It discussed the increasing mistrust of “vulnerable people” toward the international regime of aid, while their ability to explore the interstices of state policy and humanitarian action is growing. He said that many refugees strive to diversify their assets and spread risks. Such diversification can be observed in political affiliations, economic activities, geographical residences, and last but not least legal statuses. The most unpredictable and disruptive effects of late modernity can be observed sharply in what is nowadays called the global south; but perhaps some of the most promising expressions of social reinvention too, Professor Monsutti said.
“It was an intimidating honour for me to be invited to give the lecture which is probably the most prestigious in refugee studies”, said professor Monsutti as he started his lecture.
Listen to the podcast of the full lecture.
Read a summary of the presentation by Refugee Studies Centre.
The Refugee Studies Centre is part of the University of Oxford's Department of International Development. Its Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held annually in honour of Professor Elizabeth Colson, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Previous lecturers included Professors Didier Fassin of Princeton, Saskia Sassen of Columbia University and other accomplished scholars. The lecture has been held since 1996.
Alessandro Monsutti is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology of Development and Research Director at the Programme for the Study of Global Migration, and Research Associate, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford.