Neighbourliness, conviviality, and the sacred in Athens’ refugee squats

Zaman, Tahir (2020) Neighbourliness, conviviality, and the sacred in Athens’ refugee squats. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 45 (3). pp. 529-541. ISSN 0020-2754

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To better understand the range of possibilities and opportunities for (co)existence available to displacement‐affected people, attention must be given to the thick webs of sociality shaping interactions in situations of mass displacement. This paper makes the case that refugee squats in Athens are distinct spaces wherein different understandings of (co)existence converge – spaces whose production is contingent on support from neighbourly relations and networks that are mediated in moments through conceptions of conviviality informed by religion. Based on ethnographic work carried out in 2016 and a spatial analysis of refugee squats in Athens, this paper emphasises neighbourliness and conviviality as they relate to sacred understandings of coexistence. This helps highlight the limits built in to thinking about the movement of refugees from the global South through Euro‐centric ontologies of the social. More than this, following postcolonial debates on the decentring of knowledge production, the research makes manifest how Islamic socio‐cultural memories of jiwār or a right of neighbourliness complicate geographies of humanitarianism that make stark binary assumptions between religious and secular space. In turn, the evidence from Athens indicates that refugee perspectives on neighbourliness are imperfectly translated by migrant rights activists as solidarity, obscuring the different ways Muslim structures of feeling contribute to the production of refugee squats.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2019 10:28
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2021 02:00

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