Seeking Asylum in Neoliberal Cairo: Refugee Protests and the Securitization of Humanitarianism

  • Elisa Pascucci
Part of the Transnational Crime, Crime Control and Security book series (TCCCS)


The spatialities and materialities of humanitarianism are important sites in which the politics of refugee protection and refugee aid are contested and re-negotiated. As such, they are emerging as a significant field of research in development and international studies. Following this body of work, and drawing on extensive fieldwork in Cairo, Egypt, this chapter explores how the spatial practices of international humanitarian organizations influence their relations with asylum seekers and refugees, and how these relations intersect with broader urban dynamics of social exclusion. Located in a ‘satellite city’ and guarded by United Nations (UN) security and CCTV cameras, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Cairo office provides an interesting example of the impact of securitization on both asylum seekers and humanitarians. The chapter shows how asylum seekers contest the growing contradictions of the local system of urban refugee governance through sit-ins and daily acts of ‘encroachment’ and spatialized resistance.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisa Pascucci
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of ManagementUniversity of TampereTampereFinland

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