Archive: Gennaio 20th, 2014

• Special Session of the CPG at the IGU Regional Conference

Camps. Geographies of the Sovereign Exception

Special Session co-organized by the IGU-Commission on Political Geography journal Political Geography

2014 IGU Krakow Regional Conference, Krakow, Poland, 18-22 August 2014




  • Political Geography lecture at IGU 2014 by Claudio Minca , Unviersity of Wageningen


  • Intervention by Franco Farinelli, University of Bologna, President of the Association of Italian Geographers – AGEI


  • Intervention by Vladimir Kolossov, Russian Academy of Science, President of the International Geographical Union – IGU-UGI



Political Geography lecture at IGU 2014:



Claudio Minca



Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has famously, and controversially, claimed that the camp is the nomos of our time. However, the ‘camp concept’ (and related set of practices) is certainly not new, and has found many diverse manifestations during the last century or so, some of them still present and proliferating also today. Detention camps, training camps, concentration camps, refugee camps, transition camps, tourist camps, are to be found everywhere, and they all seem to be driven by a variable mix of custody, care and control. Also by explicit and/or implicit forms of violence.

Starting from Auschwitz – the most studied camp ever – and the Nazis’ obsession with camps, touching upon my own biographical experience of refugee camps, via the forms of disciplinary encampments of all sorts and nature that dot our contemporary geographies of the everyday, to conclude with reference to Guantanamo and to some recent examples of camps established to temporarily ‘host and protect’ illegal migrants at the margins of Europe, this paper intends to discuss the broader geographies of the camp, intended as a key expression of the Modern and its spatial projections. In particular, it reflects on the topographical imperative that seems to be at the core of all camps, together with the practices of transgression of that same imperative. It also explores the relation between these camp spatialities and ‘the biopolitical’, and in particular the ways in which bodies are governed and mobilized according to the camp logic, including forms of self-discipline.

It concludes by asking whether the camp, as a spatial formation, may indeed be considered the global nomos of our age; and if so, which may actually be the theoretical (and urgently political) implications for our discipline, faced with the geographies of exception imposed precisely by the proliferation of new camps, everywhere.

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