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A political ecology of the camp
Security Dialogue
  • Benjamin Meiches, University of Washington Tacoma
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Critical scholarship on the camp tends to focus on the institution’s historical role in producing forms of social exclusion often by linking the emergence of the camp to the creation of abstract political divisions such as citizenship and nationality. While this approach has unquestionable value, it overemphasizes the importance of social constructions in the history and development of the camp. This article calls for a re-examination of the material elements composing camp spaces by offering attention to how non-human entities and processes contribute to the development of practices of confinement, security and governance. Drawing on the work of Manuel DeLanda, Gilles Deleuze, and Félix Guattari, this article develops an outline of the camp as a material assemblage and examines how the camp emerges from the interaction of barbed wire, war, and the rise of motorized transport. This process of historical emergence helps to explain the elastic and transient dimensions of the camp as constitutive of a new form of fluid political control. Moreover, the article claims that attending to the materiality of the camp helps to explain the expanding role that camps will play in the future of political governance.

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Citation Information
Benjamin Meiches. "A political ecology of the camp" Security Dialogue Vol. 46 Iss. 5 (2015) p. 476 - 492
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