Chapter

The Refugee as an Ethical Figure

Aihwa Ong

in Buddha Is Hiding

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780520229983
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937161 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520229983.003.0004
The Refugee as an Ethical Figure

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This chapter studies the social and spatial displacements between the border camps and the United States. It describes the political scene that met Cambodian refugees upon their arrival in the United States and looks at the forms of power and knowledge that have shaped racial and class politics. It notes the technologies that would receive, recast, and redefine these refugees as modern citizen-subjects. The chapter identifies three technologies that intersected with the world of the refugees, namely: related processes in the government of moral deviance, poverty, and migrants; historical racial bipolarism and orientalism; and ways that the refugee has determined American foreign policy. The chapter also shows how these technologies combined to help shape the reception of Southeast Asian refugees in California.

Keywords: displacements; border camps; racial politics; class politics; technologies; foreign policy; racial bipolarism; orientalism; moral deviance; migrants

Chapter.  9714 words. 

Subjects: Migration Studies

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