La fin de l’hospitalité reviewed in Critical Inquiry

Authored by Guillaume Le Blanc and Fabienne Brugère, La fin de l’hospitalité: Lampedusa, Lesbos, Calais . . . jusqu’où irons-nous? (Paris: Flammarion, 2017) and reviewed by Corina Stan. Here’s part of the take:

La fin de l’hospitalité was a prompt response to the mismanagement of the refugee crisis in 2015–2016 in Europe: the surveillance of the Mediterranean, the reinforcement of frontiers, the building of walls, camps, and centers where refugees were categorized, their life projects changed, their immigration plans directed elsewhere. These measures, Le Blanc and Brugère note, have made relevant again Hannah Arendt’s analysis of the denationalization of refugees in World War II; they also support Giorgio Agamben’s analyses of the camp as “the new biopolitical nomos of the planet” (p. 120). And the transformation of “hot spots” for migrants into centers of detention—places where the distinction between economic migrant and political refugee is operated—gives renewed significance, the authors show, to Michel Foucault’s hypothesis of the “carceral archipelago” in Discipline and Punish.[2] Europe no longer appears to heed old norms of hospitality that ensured that the foreigner from afar was received as the guest of an entire community; today he is turned away as a stranger who must be made invisible behind walls. Ironically, the authors note, nothing signals more explicitly the failure of the nation-state than the building of walls. “The migrant’s body becomes the expulsed threshold of the nation,” Brugère and Le Blanc write (p. 142), echoing psychoanalyst André Green’s reflection that “one can be a citizen or a stateless person, but it is very difficult to imagine oneself as a frontier.”[3]

One comment

  1. hard to tell with much of these sorts of works (including the later Derrida) the degree to which they are being prescriptive or descriptive.

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