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Welcome to the 2019 New Zealand Political Studies Association Annual Conference

"Security, Community, Humanity"

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Friday, November 29 • 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Borders, Boundaries, and Identity

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Kate McMillan
An ASEAN model of ‘responsibility-sharing’ for refugees and asylum-seekers?

The concept of ‘responsibility-sharing’ for the protection of refugees and asylum seekers implies that such responsibility should be shared among the world’s states, rather than falling, as it often does, to states proximate to refugee-generating countries. It is a concept with a long heritage, underlying both the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 2018 Global Compact on Refugees. But, even as the term gains currency in a number of international and regional fora, the basis on which responsibility might be assigned to different states, and the mechanisms for distributing such responsibility, remain deeply contested. In the South East Asian context, which has received a large number of locally- and externally-generated forced migrants, there appears to be widespread acceptance that greater regional cooperation is required in order to manage the responsibilities associated with forced migrants, and the term ‘responsibility-sharing’ has begun appearing frequently in regional and national statements. Yet, there is no consensus and, indeed, very little formal discussion at the governmental level, about how responsibility might be shared within the countries that make up the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), where only two out of ten Member States are signatories to the 1951 Convention. Using the results of interviews with 40 individuals working in government, NGO, IGOs, civil society organisations, and refugee groups in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, I identify ways in which ASEAN countries are already sharing responsibility for refugees and asylum-seekers, and examine the prospects for what might be considered an ASEAN model of responsibility-sharing.

Yeojin (Lisa) Seo
In Search of Hospitality in International Relations, Differentiating the Asylum Seeker and Refugee: Kant vis-à-vis Arendt

In this paper, I argue that both Kant and Arendt offer an explanation in which states and individuals could offer hospitality towards strangers - specifically in regards to asylum seekers and refugees. As the terms asylum seeker and refugee are legally different, Kant and Arendt likewise illustrate a different understanding of these two concepts. In Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals and Perpetual Peace, Kant’s notion of hospitality is understood as he legitimizes the asylum seeker. In The Origins of Totalitarianism and We Refugees, Arendt’s writing depicts our general understanding of a refugee. Arendt points out that the term ‘refugee’ should be dealt with greater attention as it is inherently a human right. Despite Kant being regarded as neither a rationalist or empiricist, in this paper I argue that when dealing with the subject of hospitality, Kant’s writing appeals to rationalism while Arendt’s writing aligns closely to empiricism. This paper concludes that both of the two approaches by Kant and Arendt are viable when dealing with the current refugee crisis - since the two philosophers call for humanity as being the ultimate solution to overcome the differences found within the international system.

Khairu Sobandi
Social boundaries and identity in international migration

In an increasingly globalized world, international migration has become an important phenomenon that impacts both the host countries as well as the countries of origin. With transportation across countries becoming affordable and easily available, more and more migrants are leaving their countries in search of better opportunities overseas. While new migrants try to integrate into vibrant local communities in their host countries, they are bound by restrictive host government policies that shape their interactions. These policies not only define their status but also govern the nature of their everyday social interactions and relationships with migrant and host communities and engagement with local institutions in the host countries. I argue that such conditions create clear social boundaries between new migrants and the local population, contributing to discrimination, ethnic stereotyping or even stigmatization. My study of Indonesian labor migrant experiences in the Middle East and wealthy Asian countries show evidence of this pattern of exclusion from host communities and inclusion with the migrant community. The findings of my study highlight the importance of the construction of social boundaries in the host country as this inevitably leads to a transformation of the identities of new migrants.


Stephen Winter

Stephen Winter

Kate McMillan

Associate Professor, Victoria University of Wellington

Yeojin Seo

Yeojin Seo

Khairu Sobandi

University of Canterbury

Friday November 29, 2019 3:30pm - 5:00pm NZDT

Attendees (7)