Casualties of Care

Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Humanitarianism in France

MIRIAM TICKTIN
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Pages: 312
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ppmv8
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  • Book Info
    Casualties of Care
    Book Description:

    This book explores the unintended consequences of compassion in the world of immigration politics. Miriam Ticktin focuses on France and its humanitarian immigration practices to argue that a politics based on care and protection can lead the state to view issues of immigration and asylum through a medical lens. Examining two “regimes of care”—humanitarianism and the movement to stop violence against women—Ticktin asks what it means to permit the sick and sexually violated to cross borders while the impoverished cannot? She demonstrates how in an inhospitable immigration climate, unusual pathologies can become the means to residency papers, making conditions like HIV, cancer, and select experiences of sexual violence into distinct advantages for would-be migrants. Ticktin’s analysis also indicts the inequalities forged by global capitalism that drive people to migrate, and the state practices that criminalize the majority of undocumented migrants at the expense of care for the exceptional few.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95053-5
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. Introduction: THE POLITICS AND ANTIPOLITICS OF CARE
    (pp. 1-26)

    In January 2000, newspapers reported that fifty-eight undocumented Chinese immigrants were found dead in the cold-storage container of a Dutch truck. The large number of deaths drew particular attention to the issue of migrants crossing borders under extremely dangerous conditions, given the ever more stringent border controls in the new ″Fortress Europe.″ But this was far from the first story of its kind. Deaths had been reported around ports of entry into Europe at least since the mid-1990s—asylum seekers attempting to cross through the Channel Tunnel from France into the United Kingdom, holding on to Eurostar trains from above...

  6. PART I THE CONTEXT:: POLITICS AND CARE
    • ONE Sans-Papiers and the Context of Political Struggle
      (pp. 29-59)

      On October 27, 2005, responding to a call about a break-in, French police chased three young boys of Arab origin in thecité(housing estate) of Clichy-sous-Bois. The boys climbed the wall of a power plant in their attempt to escape the police, and two of the boys, aged fifteen and seventeen, died, while the third suffered from severe burns. Later it was recognized that the police had chased the boys by mistake and that there was no burglary. The boys had been playing soccer with their friends in the neighborhood and had dispersed to avoid the all too familiar...

    • TWO Genealogies of Care: THE NEW HUMANITARIANISM
      (pp. 60-86)

      With the effects of severe economic recessions in the late 1980s, Médecins sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde decided to bring their missions back ″home″ to help those excluded from systems of social security in France. In 1993 Bernard Granjon, the president of MDM-France, asked, ″Must we accept, in this rich country which is France, in the homeland of the rights of man and of the citizen, the ineluctable spiral of poverty which results in what more and more resembles professional and social apartheid?″ (Granjon 1993, cited from Fox 1995:1614). These medical humanitarian organizations joined with other NGOs in what...

  7. PART II ON THE GROUND:: COMPASSION AND PATHOLOGY
    • THREE The Illness Clause: LIFE AND THE POLITICS OF COMPASSION
      (pp. 89-127)

      One late afternoon in the spring of 1999, I went to a workshop for NGOs on the theme of the sans-papiers and health. It was held just outside Paris in thebanlieueand organized by an NGO that focuses on AIDS and drug addiction. A representative from a medical humanitarian organization had been invited, and there were debates about what the new scheme for universal medical coverage in France entailed for those without papers.¹ Most striking was a discussion of the 1998 provision of the Conditions of Entry and Residence of Foreigners, which grants legal permits to those already in...

    • FOUR In the Name of Violence against Women
      (pp. 128-158)

      In February 2007, three months before the presidential election in France, presidential candidate (now president) Nicolas Sarkozy went to a shelter for battered women in Paris called Coeur de Femmes and listened to the women′s stories of violence, humiliation, and rape. The women came from all over—Mali, Morocco, Ivory Coast, China, Poland—and several weresans-papières, as undocumented immigrant women have called themselves. According to reports, Sarkozy responded to the stories with compassion. He later publicly offered to rescue them (on April 29, 2007), stating, ″To each martyred woman in the world, I want France to offer its protection,...

  8. PART III ANTIPOLITICS:: DISEASED CITIZENS AND A RACIALIZED POSTCOLONIAL STATE
    • FIVE Armed Love: AGAINST MODERN SLAVERY, AGAINST IMMIGRANTS
      (pp. 161-191)

      On October 31, 2005, a circular was passed by Nicolas Sarkozy—then the minister of interior—reevaluating the conditions for entry of undocumented immigrants, with a section devoted to ″victims of human trafficking.″ According to the circular, cases that do not strictly fit what the French Penal Code defines as a victim of trafficking ″might give proof of the need for [on the part of prefectures] humanitarian and benevolent consideration″ (CCEM 2005:12). More simply, these victims should be treated with particular compassion, at the discretion of the prefecture. The circular is too vague to allow for a real right to...

    • SIX Biological Involution? THE PRODUCTION OF DISEASED CITIZENS
      (pp. 192-220)

      In 2001, in a conversation with the former president of Act Up Paris, the gay rights activist group, I learned that Act Up Paris had received calls from people inquiring how they could infect themselves with HIV in order to obtain legal status in France. Although this particular account of HIV self-infection is anecdotal, the rhetoric of willed self-infection can be located in the larger reality I observed during the course of my research: I increasingly saw undocumented immigrants turn to physical injury or infection to claim basic rights supposedly granted to all human beings. As I have been arguing,...

  9. Conclusion: ENGAGING THE POLITICAL
    (pp. 221-226)

    While France has served as my focus, the ″new humanity″ produced and protected by regimes of care is not limited to the French context. Increasingly, pathologies serve as global strategies for crossing borders, whether across national, class, or geopolitical borders: from South Africa, where unemployed and poverty-stricken South Africans use the language of CD4 counts and viral loads to gain access to government disability grants given to HIV+ citizens with CD4 counts below 200 (Robins 2009), to Gaza, where those trying to escape conditions of poverty and misery may pay for one of the only escape routes—medical reports that...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 227-248)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 249-278)
  12. Index
    (pp. 279-295)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 296-296)