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SCIENCE AT WORK FOCUS OPINION A World within a World Some 400,000 settlements is the Dadaab camp in Kenya, which has a population of 450,000. Moreover, at least 6 million people who have been displaced within their own countries also live in camps. In Haiti alone, some 400,000 who lost their homes in the 2010 earthquake are still sheltered across 400 encampments. Even more difficult to quantify due to their illegal nature are the small-size, self-established migrant camps, of which several thousand have been set up along borders and in urban wasteland, like the Afghan migrant camps in Calais (northern France) or Roma settlements in the Paris region. Why such a proliferation? M.A.: The end of the Cold War marked the start of a massification process. Increased openness and the ‘global village’ utopia gave the impression of greater freedom of movement. In parallel, advances in transportation encouraged migratory flows at every level: regional, national, and Anthropology. Whether for refugees, displaced populations or migrants, camps are a new feature of global society, says researcher Michel Agier,1 who directed a book on the subject. INTERVIEW BY LAURE CAILLOCE In your latest book entitled A World of Camps,2 you point to the ‘encampment’ of the world. What do you mean by that? Michel Agier: Camps are becoming an important component of global society, housing nearly 20 million people who have fled war, poverty, or ecological disasters. An estimated 5 to 7 million individuals, displaced from their homelands by war, live in 460 refugee camps in the Middle East, Pakistan, and East Africa. The largest of these 1. Michel Agier is a senior researcher at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) and director of studies at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS). 2. Michel Agier (ed. with the collaboration of Clara Lecadet), Un monde de camps (Paris: La découverte, 2014). 3. Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Haitians still live in camps built after the 2010 earthquake. © P. GORRIZ/UN PHOTO LAB WATCH 6 CNRS INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE


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