The Politics of Crisis-Making: Neither for Rights, Nor for Needs

Throughout modern history, the politics of crisis-making that subtends volatile contexts has inhibited the capacity to produce effective changes in matters of migration and borders. It has also made us believe that forced migrations inevitably imply a “crisis”, while the story is far more complicated. My talk will revolve around the key themes I have covered in my book in Italian Specchi Scomodi. Etnografia delle Migrazioni Forzate nel Libano Contemporaneo (Mimesis, 2019), and which I am further researching to write my book manuscript The Politics of Crisis- Making. Forced Displacement and Cultures of Assistance in Lebanon. Taking Lebanon as a leading example, I will show how a western-centric understanding of humanitarianism prevents us from capturing how the lives of different refugee groups are enmeshed in contexts where humanitarian and welfare regimes overlap; and how refugees understand themselves in response to crisis management. I will particularly focus on the politicisation of aid, the ‘ethnicisation’ of needs and services, and the socio-moral distances between aid providers and recipients in different Lebanese areas.

Introduced by: Pierluigi MusarĂ²
Tutor: Dr Elena Giacomelli
Language: English


Estella Carpi, Research Associate in the Migration Research Unit (Department of Geography) at University College London, where she works on Southern-led responses to displacement from Syria in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan

Event details

Date: 11 November 2020
Time: 9am - 11am (Central European Time)
Enquiries: Dr Elena Giacomelli (

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