Spaces of Vulnerability, Statelessness and Refugee-hood


The project concerns intricate relations between the state and statelessness in relations to spaces of vulnerability in the society. Space is not an objective sphere and natural entity, but subjectively constitutes of socio-economic, and political processes and practices across time. Therefore space of vulnerability stems from the projects of state-making and nation-building, which produces various forms of discrimination among citizens and non-citizens depending on the legal status of individuals. Since citizenship is a reciprocal relation of rights and duties between people and the state, non-citizens become objects of vulnerability in the structure of modern nation-state. The research addresses such spaces of vulnerability with a case of the Rohingya; an ethno-linguistic-religious minority who have been the residents of Myanmar for centuries, but largely migrated to Southeastern Bangladesh and have been living there for decades as both refugees and illegal migrants. The process of nation-building in Myanmar rendered the Rohingya non-citizens and thereby stateless people in the one hand. Bangladesh, on the other hand, does not intend to host and recognize the Rohingya even as refugees as a non-signatory state of the UN Refugee conventions, 1951 making Rohingyas an illegal object. Consequently, the Rohingya have turned into a non-entity having no legal status in the structure of modern nation-state in both Myanmar and Bangladesh. The research examines Rohingya situations in Bangladesh arguing that space of vulnerability in the society is not determined by the people themselves, but is produced in the process of state-making within the framework of modern nation-state.

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