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DisplacementGlobal conversations on refuge$
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Silvia Pasquetti and Romola Sanyal

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526123466

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526123473

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 01 August 2021

The banality of displacement: re-reading Hannah Arendt to instil critical thought in the Colombian refugee crisis1

The banality of displacement: re-reading Hannah Arendt to instil critical thought in the Colombian refugee crisis1

Chapter:
(p.63) 3 The banality of displacement: re-reading Hannah Arendt to instil critical thought in the Colombian refugee crisis1
Source:
Displacement
Author(s):

Ulrich Oslender

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7765/9781526123473.00011

This chapter focuses on Colombia, which has the highest numbers of internal displaced people worldwide (over 6 million), to generate conversations about how the internally displaced are identified, counted and categorised. Drawing on Hannah Arendt’s ideas regarding the ‘banality of evil’, the author develops the concept of ‘the banality of displacement’ to examine the increasingly bureaucratic and thoughtless nature of an institutionalised discourse in Colombia that has led to a creeping normalisation of forced displacement. This, he argues, has come at the expense of a more complex characterisation of the internally displaced population. Examining the case of the Afro-Colombian population, he shows how a ‘colour-blind’ approach to displacement has meant that despite this group’s recognition as an ethnic minority in the new 1991 constitution, for years no data was collected regarding the ethnic composition of the displaced population. This, despite longstanding arguments that displacement has affected black groups disproportionately to the mestizo population. By exposing the thoughtlessness in government and NGO circles alike, the ‘banality of displacement’ approach seeks to instil critical thought countering the normalisation of displacement in Colombia and elsewhere and suggests that a re-reading of Arendt may be important to the wider global refugee crisis debate.

Keywords:   Colombia, IDPs, Hannah Arendt, banality of displacement, race, ethnic, Afro-Colombian, thoughtlessness, normalization

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