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Planet of camps: border assemblages and their challenges

  • Yannis Hamilakis (a1)

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In his 2017 masterful film Happy End, the European auteur Michael Haneke returns to some of his favourite themes by portraying the life of a contemporary dysfunctional, white bourgeoisie family in Calais, France, struggling to deal with the skeletons in their cupboard. They are also mostly oblivious to the thousands of migrants from the Global South attempting to negotiate yet another borderland and cross into Britain. In the final scene, a group of them bursts uninvited into the family's engagement party. This classic Hanekean tense moment reminds us that contemporary global migration, rather than being a novel and unexpected ‘crisis’, amounts to an unavoidable return, a return of the oppressed and the colonised; it is a moment in the unfinished histories of white European global domination. In that sense, rather than being a ‘migration crisis’, it can be better described as a reception crisis (cf. Christopoulos 2016), a crisis of the contemporary nation states in the Global North who find it impossible to come to terms with their own histories.

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References

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Planet of camps: border assemblages and their challenges

  • Yannis Hamilakis (a1)

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