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African Studies and OCAF Seminar: Staying Out of Place: The Dialectics of Being and Becoming in Exceptional Spaces

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Duration: 0:51:25 | Added: 18 Feb 2014
Simon Turner, Aalborg University, Denmark, gives a talk for the African Studies Centre

Based on ethnographic fieldwork in two exceptional spaces, namely among Burundian refugees living clandestinely in Nairobi and living in a refugee camp in Tanzania, the article argues that displacement can be about staying out of place in order to find a place in the world in the future and is therefore closely linked to temporarily and temporariness. I suggest that the term dis-placement described this sense of not only being out of place but also being en route to a future. Burundians in the camp and the city are doing their best to remain out of place, in transition between a lost past and a future yet to come, and the temporary nature of their sojourn is maintained in everyday practices so that they may remain displaced; on their way to something else. The article argues that such everyday practices are policed by powerful actors in the camp and are ingrained in practices of self-discipline in Nairobi. Comparing the two settings demonstrates that displacement can take on different forms, just as non-places or states of exception are different according to context.

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