2022-2023 MIDEX Seminar Series: Necropolitics and border regime in a non-Western context: governing forced migrations in Cameroon

21 April 2023

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Necropolitics and border regime in a non-Western context: governing forced migrations in Cameroon-Claire Lefort-Rieu

While forms of bio-/necropolitics and border regimes have been extensively investigated in European and North American contexts, they remain understudied in non-Western contexts. This work analyses such dynamics in the border region of Eastern Cameroon, through a twoyears (2018-2021) ethnographic field alongside refugees and aid actors. Despite an official “open-door policy”, Cameroon’s border regime is characterized by an increased securitization. Entangled in state processes that reintegrate humanitarian interventions into the public sphere, international aid actors find themselves increasingly involved in supporting the governmental strategy and its application. They take part into Cameroon’s redefinition of migration governance through biopolitical and spatial tactics that aim at enforcing migrant containment. However, endowed with important know-how (developed over the years spent in exile) but limited power-to-do (granted by the state authorities and aid actors), refugees have developed mechanisms of transgression. They managed to divert processes of containment and marginalization and turn them into resources, to create spaces of contestation and subversion.


Claire Lefort-Rieu is a PhD candidate in anthropology (Ceped, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement/Université Paris Cité). She studies forced migration governance in Cameroon, through extensive fieldwork and a methodology of double ethnography led with both aid actors and their so-called beneficiaries. She graduated in 2019 with a Master in Social Anthropology from Ecole Normale Supérieure and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.

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