The “Minor” Politics of Rightful Presence: Justice and Relationality in City of Sanctuary

Squire, Vicki and Darling, Jonathan (2013). The “Minor” Politics of Rightful Presence: Justice and Relationality in City of Sanctuary. International Political Sociology, 7(1) pp. 59–74.



This paper examines how historical and geographical relations of injustice are ‘made present’ through the activities of the City of Sanctuary network in Sheffield, the UK. In so doing, it exposes the limitations of conceptualising and enacting sanctuary through the frame of hospitality, and proposes an analytics of ‘rightful presence’ as an alternative frame by which to address contemporary sanctuary practices. In contrast to a body of scholarship and activism that has focused on hospitably as potentially extending the bounds of citizenship to ‘include’ those seeking refuge, we consider how the ‘minor’ politics of City of Sanctuary potentially trouble the assumptions on which such claims to inclusion rest. Specifically, we claim that an analysis that pays attention to the ‘minor’ politics of sanctuary raises questions about the statist relations of guest-host that such an approach takes as its starting point . The paper develops this argument by emphasising the importance of practices that ‘make present’ injustices. This is conceived of as important in bringing to bear an account of justice that is grounded in concrete political struggles, in contrast to the more abstract notion of a justice ‘to come’. To explore sanctuary practices through a relational account of justice, we thus conclude, brings to bear a politically-attuned account of rightful presence in terms that challenge pastoral relations of guest-host as well as the statist framing of sanctuary with which such relations are intimately bound.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 30661
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 1749-5679
  • Keywords
  • sanctuary; justice; relationality; mobility; citizenship
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2013 International Studies Association
  • Depositing User
  • Vicki Squire