Philosophy and Social Criticism 40 (7):645-663 (2014)

Serena Parekh
Northeastern University
This article examines our moral obligations to refugees and stateless people. I argue that in order to understand our moral obligations to stateless people, both de jure refugees and de facto stateless people, we ought to reconceptualize the harm of statelessness as entailing both a legal/political harm and an ontological harm, a deprivation of certain fundamental human qualities. To do this, I draw on the work of Hannah Arendt and show that the ontological deprivation has three distinct though interconnected elements: a reduction to the merely human or bare life, a separation from the common realm of humanity and abandonment, and the diminishment of agency or ability to act in the Arendtian sense. If we pull apart the legal/political harm of statelessness from the ontological harm, we are better able to see that we can address some of the features of the ontological deprivation even though we may not be able to rectify the political harm. I conclude this article by discussing some suggestions that follow from a recognition of the reality and harm of the ontological deprivation.
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DOI 10.1177/0191453713498254
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The Ethics of Refugees.Matthew J. Gibney - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (10):e12521.
Must a World Government Violate the Right to Exit?Rochelle DuFord - 2017 - Ethics and Global Politics 10 (1):19-36.
To Lose One’s Home in the World: The Injustice of Immigrant Detention.Craig French - 2015 - Journal of International Political Theory 11 (3):351-369.
Should Refugees Govern Refugee Camps?Felix Bender - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 1:1-24.

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