Title

Welcoming Refugees: Mindful Citizenship and the Political Responsibility of Hospitality

Abstract

In this article I use the refugee crisis in Syria to open up broader questions of political responsibility for refugees. Drawing on the work of Iris Marion Young, I argue that refugees suffer structural injustice in the international states system, which is organized according to principles of internal and external sovereignty; international society, organized by the social relationships, norms, and practices between states and other actors; and the global political economy, because these structures constrict refugees' ability to develop and exercise their capacities while enabling relatively privileged states and their citizens and residents to enhance theirs. The implication of privileged actors in structural injustice comes about through such everyday activities that it tends to be invisible. Crises like the one in Syria expose the structures and processes that sustain the structural injustice that refugees suffer. I argue that relatively privileged states, and their citizens and legal residents in particular, bear a political responsibility of hospitality toward refugees because they benefit from the structures that disadvantage the stateless. But our capacity and willingness to assume this responsibility are sometimes short-circuited by anxieties and resentments about our vulnerabilities to displacement under globalization, which refugees can evoke. The cultivation of mindful citizenship can help us to mitigate these anxieties and resentments and to assume our political responsibility of hospitality.

Publisher

University of Chicago Press

Publication Date

Spring 1-1-2018

Publication Title

Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society

Department

Politics

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1086/695305

Keywords

Meditation

Language

English

Format

text

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