The Homeless and the Human in International Relations

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: War Studies


Research Questions:
1) What is the relationship between the concepts of 'home' and
2) Is this relationship understood differently at the domestic and
international levels?
3) What are the implications of this relationship for practices of
transnational migration and the governance of migration in
international relations?
This research will interrogate the idea of 'home' and its
relationship with the 'human' in contemporary international
relations theory. It will make new contributions to the debates on
humanitarianism and biopolitics, alongside the role of the
concept of 'human' in politics, through a focus on what having a
'home' is and does to the human subject. This analysis will
interrogate state boundaries in considering the transnational
parallels and differences between domestic and migrant
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'homeless', and asking if there are different connections
between the human and the home in these two contexts.
This interrogation will use the work of Hannah Arendt as a point
of entry into contemporary debates around humanism, and will
be novel both due to the use of Arendt in analysing 'home', and
in taking a transnational approach to this analysis. The value of
using Arendt is that the analysis will focus on political ties and
the civic solidarity Arendt argues they allow, and examine her
warning that a focus on intimacy and warmth threatens this
solidarity. There is a lack of critical analysis on the relationship
between the 'human' and 'homedness' that Arendt's writing on
the human condition allows to be investigated.
There has been limited work within the International Relations
literature that focuses on the human/home relationship and as
such, this is a fruitful space of enquiry [1]. The research will have
implications for political theory, public policy, and conceptions of
difference between the situations of migrant homeless and
domestic homeless. Moreover, the examination of
'homelessness' as a transnational category will contribute to
core debates in international relations, which concern the
determination of state's rights and obligations, as well as
contributing to debates about security, migrant vulnerability and
humanitarianism. This shift in focus has important
consequences for political conceptions of self, other, and being,
and therefore for frameworks of political community and
inclusion within these. In combining a philosophical examination
of 'home' and 'human' with international theory, this research
will make a novel contribution to international relations.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000703/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2293853 Studentship ES/P000703/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Rhiannon Emm