By Miriam I. Ticktin
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Extra resources for Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Humanitarianism in France
We exchanged information about our legal status, and then he explained to me, rather incredulously, that “it was so much easier to find work on the black market! I never had trouble. ” Ahmad is just one example of a tension between industry wanting and needing labor and the state refusing to let people in legally. Stated otherwise, he exemplifies the contradictions between capital and labor, where capital flows relatively freely while labor cannot. One might say that undocumented immigrants are desired precisely because they can be denied all rights.
So, taking this as my jumpingoff point, I explore the political eruption of the sans-papiers in order to sa n s - pa p i e r s a n d p o l i t i c a l s t r u g g l e 31 think about the context of its emergence and limits, and about the rise of a competing complex of institutions and practices of care. Many scholars and activists have written about the sans-papiers precisely because of the significance of the movement for new practices of citizenship and belonging;2 my goal is not to revisit this work, but rather to think about the nature and context of the sans-papiers political movement and why it has come to be challenged by a form of antipolitics.
16 Radical change is the result of political action, not politics. While a politics of care and compassion is a 20 introduction form of politics—it engages and reproduces a set of power relations— my argument is that it does not change the dominant order, it does not challenge established forms of inequality. That said, it is nevertheless productive—the question is, of what? What kind of politics is this antipolitics today? First, I want to put the idea of antipolitics in context and then turn to its specific contemporary effects.