This event approaches displacement through the theme of ‘rupture’. Policy definitions of ‘displacement’ often focus on physical dislocation and geographical journeys, and the term is used interchangeably with ‘forced migration’. Yet displacement is often characterised less by mobility than immobilization, with many stuck behind borders or in camps and detention centres. Rather than taking movement as the defining feature of displacement, this event focuses on ‘rupture’ of the relations that constitute a sense of place and belonging: between self and community, citizen and state, inhabitant and home. People are dispossessed of their lands, cut off from their livelihoods, and deprived of a sense of security and order.
In the face of such rupture, many organisations are implementing programmes focused on reconciliation. While reconciliation has long been recognized as a crucial aspect of voluntary return and repatriation for refugees, it has more recently become a priority in contexts of protracted displacement, where xenophobia and the politicization of migration can rupture the norms of hospitality and tolerance that make asylum possible.
This seminar series, hosted by Campion Hall and the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford, is proposed as an opportunity to discuss the possibilities for and challenges to ‘reconciliation’ in contexts of displacement. It will bring together academics as well as practitioners working in diverse contexts and according to different traditions to exchange insights and engage critically with the conceptual and practical dimensions of reconciliation. We intend to interrogate the historical roots of reconciliation interventions; to consider the different roles played by international, national, local, faith-based and refugee-run institutions, and to spotlight some of the unintended consequences of reconciliation work.