Understanding Australia’s Offshore Detention Regime

Emergent Conversations: Part 7

PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review’s seventh emergent conversation brings together different perspectives on the topic of offshore detention. Organized by Digital Editorial Fellows Helena Zeweri and Nadja Eisenberg-Guyot, it begins by explaining recent developments related to Australia’s offshore detention regime, showcasing a scholar-activist commentary on its nature and effects, and collecting resources on the experiences of detained persons.

Check back for updates, as the conversation is ongoing. Future features include human rights lawyers reflecting on their strategies for raising awareness about abuses enabled by the regime, commentaries from other parts of the world, and resources for readers seeking more information on offshore detention practices.

Understanding Australia’s Offshore Detention Regime | by Helena Zeweri and Nadja Eisenberg-Guyot

In a time of increasing global displacement, examining offshore detention is one entry point into understanding how asylum seeker lives are rendered as political and moral questions. The offshore quality of Australian detention is a telling example of the politics of invisibility and extraterritorial sovereignty that undergird state control of migrant bodies and personhood… This emergent conversation brings together multiple voices and analyses of a lesser known geography of carceral governance. [Read the full introduction]

Bordering Colonial Uncertainty | by Angela Mitropoulos

67653c60a43411e4abde29a65a3251dd_content_thumbnailHow do borders operate as filters? To what end? How has this changed, if it has? Accurately describing borders is only one question, especially if the aim is a critical analysis of the border that informs and is informed by emerging campaigns around it. Thus, a critical theory of the border involves, at the same time, a critical understanding of how borders operate and how we operationalize borders in our theories, research, our assumptions and, not least, in our activism. [Read the full text]

Reflections on Experiences of Detention | curated by Helena Zeweri


Recognizing the importance of capturing the voices of those who have lived through detention, these resources provide insight into individual experiences on Manus Island or Nauru. The resources provided include a podcast, a detainee-created film, an oral history project, and recordings of live testimonies. Although presented through mediated formats, they offer a variety of firsthand accounts by asylum seekers who have detained. [Access the resources]


Recommended Citation

Offshore Detention. Emergent Conversation. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review Online, 24 October-15 December 2017, https://polarjournal.org/2017/10/24/emergent-conversations-part-7/

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