Refugia - a new solution for displacement?

Published 14 January 2020 / By COMPAS Communications

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Combining social science fiction, utopianism, pragmatism, sober analysis and innovative social theory, new book Refugia addresses one of the biggest dilemmas of our age – how to solve the problems arising from mass displacement.

As early versions of the solution proposed by Robin Cohen and Nicholas Van Hear filtered out, some established refugee scholars met their vision of a new, networked, transnational archipelago, Refugia, with scepticism.

Co-author Nicholas Van Hear, of COMPAS, says:

"The book draws together ideas that we have been developing over the last four years about a new kind of transnational polity that might emerge against the background of seemingly unrelenting mass displacement. In the volume we try to address some of the critiques received as we have floated the idea of Refugia in a variety of venues, in our bid to look beyond conventional solutions. Our aim is to initiate an openly pro-refugee vision that all can shape – refugees, scholars, students, practitioners, the media and the wider public”.

Robin Cohen reiterated this:

"We all know the problem. There are more and more people being displaced by war, political conflict and climate change, yet there is an increasing reluctance to settle them in safe countries. Nicholas Van Hear and I have crafted an original response to this dilemma using unconventional theoretical starting points -- including utopianism, archipelagic thinking and new ideas of social ecotones and a mobile commons. At the centre of it all is a dispersed transnational polity brought into being by and for refugees and displaced persons."

The book, Refugia, was officially launched on 27 February 2020, at Kellogg College, Oxford.