The biopolitics of hospitality in Greece: Humanitarianism and the management of refugees



Drawing on my research in refugee settings in Greece, I relate the biopolitics of humanitarianism with the Greek notion of “hospitality” and established cultural schemata of social relations. The dominant discourse on hospitality is reproduced in the humanitarian setting of a camp where asylum seekers are produced as worthy guests, placed in the middle ground between mere biological life and full social existence. Volunteers working with refugees on the street, by contrast, attempt to challenge biopolitical power through the reversal of hospitality, through which the refugee is symbolically reconstituted as a host (though a disputable one) and a political subject.