Friday, October 19, 2018 at 3:00pm to 4:30pm
McGraw Hall, 215
740-750 University Ave, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
"Humanitarian Citizenship, Displacement, and Precarity in Greece"
Heath Cabot, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh
Heath Cabot is a political and legal anthropologist whose research examines citizenship, ethics, and rights in Europe, with a focus on Greece. She is the author of On the Doorstep of Europe: Asylum and Citizenship in Greece (Penn 2014), and her current work examines community based healthcare and changing meanings of citizenship in Greece under austerity. She is also co-editor of PoLAR (Political and Legal Anthropology Review).
Greece has recently found itself at the epicenter of two overlapping “crises” that have been explicitly characterized in humanitarian terms: the economic crisis and the crisis of refugees. Since 2010, austerity policies have hamstrung the Greek state’s capacity to meet the basic needs of citizens, long-term residents, and new arrivals alike without external forms of assistance. Images of homelessness, ill-health, and the suffering Greek people have served as rationales for both domestic social programs and European and international financial support that have been explicitly framed in humanitarian terms. Meanwhile, as Greek sovereignty is directly challenged through austerity, the “refugee crisis” has opened-up a booming humanitarian marketplace in Greece, establishing new modes of humanitarian governance. Drawing on ethnographic data from both my earlier research on refugees in Greece and my current work on “social solidarity” clinics and pharmacies, I will argue that the Greek case signals the emergence of what I call humanitarian citizenship on Europe’s margins: the replacement of both social rights (afforded to citizens) and human rights (afforded to refugees) with humanitarian logics and sentiment, positioning both citizens and refugees in partially shared zones of precarity.