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On the Margins of the World: The Refugee Experience Today

On the Margins of the World: The Refugee Experience Today

Michel Agier

ISBN: 978-0-745-64052-5

Jun 2008, Polity

152 pages

Select type: Paperback

In Stock



Fifty million people in the world today are victims of forced relocation caused by wars and violence. Whole new countries are being created, occupied by Afghan refugees, displaced Columbians, deported Rwandans, exiled Congolese, fleeing Iraqis, Chechens, Somalians and Sudanese who have witnessed wars, massacres, aggression and terror.

New populations appear, defined by their shared conditions of fear and victimhood and by their need to survive outside of their homelands. Their lives are marked by the daily trudge of dislocation, refugee camps, humanitarian help and the never-ending wait. These populations are the emblems of a new human condition which takes shape on the very margins of the world.

In this remarkable book Michel Agier sheds light on this process of dislocation and quarantine which is affecting an ever-growing proportion of the world's population. He describes the experience of these people, speaking of their pain and their plight but also criticising their victimization by the rest of the world.

Agier analyses the ambiguous and often tainted nature of identities shaped in and by conflicts, but also the process taking place in the refugee camp itself, which allows refugees and the deported to create once again a sense of community and of shared humanity.

"A fine example of the benefit of interdisciplinary perspectives and the fruitfulness of collaboration. I would strongly suggest this book to anyone seeking to deepen their understanding of the condition of displaced peoples."
Global Change, Peace and Security

"Agier writes thoughtfully and passionately about the plight of his subjects."

"The essays would provide excellent material for review and discussion in short courses on forced migration, where it would provide valuable stimulus for debate amongst humanitarians, researchers and policy makers."
Journal of Refugee Studies

"A seminal, eye-opening study ... the most insightful inquiry to date into the plight of the refugees of the present era."
Zygmunt Bauman, Universities of Leeds and Warsaw

  • this book is a vivid account of the experience of being a refugee – of living a life in transit, stuck in refugee camps, surviving on humanitarian aid and the never-ending wait

  • Agier gives a voice to the growing number of people who find themselves becoming refugees: 50 million people in the world today are victims of forced relocation caused by wars and conflicts

  • the book is comparative and uses examples from all over the world – from Africa, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East

  • this book will be an ideal text for courses on refugees and migration. It will also appeal to a wide general readership.