Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Erin Koch

Abstract

This thesis examines the complexities in the resettlement of Bhutanese refugees. Using anthropological ethnographic field methods, this thesis explores the power dynamics between the employees of a resettlement organization and the refugees and the intricate webs of power within different institutions, such as local NGOs and healthcare institutions. The study argues that humanitarian actions and interventions are often driven by bureaucratic politics and policies that contradict what humanitarianism stands for as apolitical and value-neutral. These contradictions or paradoxes in humanitarianism also are also present in refugee resettlement. Analyzing these paradoxes that characterize resettlement, this thesis illuminates structural discontinuities or gaps that result from differences in expectations between the refugees and the employees of resettlement organization. Drawing on analyses of the paradoxes and complexities in resettlement, the study concludes that bureaucratic management of refugees reinforces social inequalities and hierarchies of power that masks state’s responsibility towards both the refugees and local NGOs making resettlement an unsettling process.

Included in

Anthropology Commons

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