The "Minor" Politics of Rightful Presence: Justice and Relationality in City of Sanctuary

Vicki Squire, Jonathan Darling

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This article examines how historical and geographical relations of injustice are "made present" through the activities of the City of Sanctuary network in Sheffield, the UK. In so doing, it exposes the limitations of conceptualizing and enacting sanctuary through the frame of hospitality, and proposes an analytics of "rightful presence" as an alternative frame with which to address contemporary sanctuary practices. In contrast to a body of scholarship and activism that has focused on hospitality as extending the bounds of citizenship to "include" those seeking refuge, we consider how the "minor" politics of City of Sanctuary potentially trouble the assumptions on which such claims to inclusion rest. Our emphasis on the "minor" politics of "making present" injustices is important in bringing to bear an account of justice that is grounded in concrete political struggles, in contrast to the more abstract notion of a justice "to come," associated with some accounts of hospitality. To explore sanctuary practices through a relational account of justice brings to bear a politically attuned account of rightful presence, which potentially challenges pastoral relations of guest-host and the statist framing of sanctuary with which relations of hospitality are intimately bound. This is important, we conclude, in countering the assumption that including the excluded solves the "problem," or relieves the "crisis," of asylum. © 2013 International Studies Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-74
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Political Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


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