Epilogue The Scandal of the Refugee: Some peflections on the "Inter" of International Relations

Michael Dillon


The refugee is a scandal for philosophy in
that the refugee recalls the radical instability of meaning and
the incalculability of the human. The refugee is a scandal for
politics also, however, in that the advent
of the refugee is always a reproach to the
formation of the political order subjectivity
which necessarily gives rise to the
refugee. The scandal is intensified for any politics of identity which presupposes
that the goal of politics is the realization
of sovereign identity. The principal argument,
then, is that what I will call the scandal of the refugee illuminates both the fundamental ontological determinations
of international politics and
the character of political action, because
the refugee is both a function of the intentional
political destruction of the ontological
horizons of people's always
already heterogeneous worlds, and
effects an equally fundamental deconstruction
of the ontological horizons
which constitute the equally heterogeneous
worlds into which, as refugees, these
people are precipitated. It is precisely on
this concrete and corporeal site that both
the ontological horizons and the allied
political decision-making of modern
politics are thrown into stark relief and
profoundly called into question. For it is
precisely here that the very actions of
modern politics both create and address
the incidence of its own massive and self-generated, political abjection. If that is
one of the principal ends of international
relations, one is forced to ask, what does
it take as its beginning? If, in other words,
the vernacular political architecture of
modern international power commonly
produces 1:115 forcibly displaced people
globally, one is inclined to ask about
the foundations upon which that architecture
is itself based.

Full Text: