Since 2015, the ‘refugee crisis’ is possibly the most photographed humanitarian crises in history. Photographs taken, for instance, in Lesvos, Greece, and Bodrum, Turkey, were instrumental in generating waves of public support for, and populist opposition to “welcoming refugees” in Europe. But photographs do not circulate in a vacuum; this book explores the visual economy of the ‘refugee crisis,’ showing how the reproduction of images is structured by, and secures hierarchies of gender, sexuality, and ‘race,’ essential to the functioning of bordered nation-states. Taking photography not only as the object of research, but innovating the method of photographìa— the material trace of writing/grafì with light/phos— this book urges us to view images and their reproduction critically. Part theoretical text, part visual essay, Reproducing Refugees vividly shows how institutional violence underpins both the spectacularity and the banality of ‘crisis.’
This book goes about synthesising visual studies with queer, feminist, postcolonial, post-structuralist, and post-Marxist theories. Carastathis and Tsilimpounidi offer theoretical frameworks and methodological tools to critically analyse representations, both those circulated through hegemonic institutions, and those generated from ‘below’.
They carve a space between logos and praxis, ways of knowing and ways of doing, by offering a new visual language that problematises reified categories such as that of the ‘refugee’ and makes possible disruptive, alternative, resistant perceptions. The book contributes to the fields of migration and border studies, critically engaging visual narratives drawn from migration movements to question dominant categories and frameworks, from a decolonial, no-borders, queer feminist perspective.
Anna Carastathis is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Social Anthropology at Panteion University in Athens, Greece.
Myrto Tsilimpounidi is Marie Curie Fellow at the Institute of Sociology, Slovak Academy of Sciences.