Uplifting music, please!

by Ingrid Robeyns on April 9, 2020

Social media are a mixed blessing, but in these times of physical distancing they help us to get a bit of a sense of how others are doing (at least, those with whom we are connected). And increasingly, people are voicing that they find the physical isolation with all its consequences tough, sometimes very tough.

Today, I had a particularly bad day in that respect. And suddenly it occurred to me that we should seek out uplifting music. There are a couple of albums that are in its entirety uplifting, such as Buena Vista Social Club, but instead I spent a bit of time compiling my own selection of music that I find uplifting and/or energizing. If you’re on Spotify, you can find my Against Corona Blues selection there. Anyone else made a compilation of music to get us through these difficult times? Share it with us!

A guest post by David Owen (University of Southampton).

T. Alexander Aleinikoff & Leah Zamore, *The Arc of Protection: Reforming the International Refugee Regime*, Stanford University Press, 2019.

This book is a bold attempt to rethink the requirements of an international protection regime for forced migrants as well as a significant challenge to the view I recently proposed in my own book (reviewed [here](https://crookedtimber.org/2020/02/19/an-important-new-book-about-refugeehood/) by Chris Bertram). Combining a revisionist history of the international refugee regime and a call for a contemporary widening of that regime, it traces proposes a set of principles and practices of protection that the authors take to be adequate to challenges of our current circumstances.

That the international refugee regime is far from well-functioning is hardly a controversial judgment and Aleinkoff & Zamore begin by sketching out the character of its failure and the relationship of that failure to the shift to thinking of refugees in humanitarian terms. As they rightly note, the 1951 Refugee Convention is much more focused than current humanitarian practice on rights and on the integration of refugees – as social, economic and even political agents – into their states of residence. Their reconstruction of the post-WW2 emergence of our current refugee regime provides the basis for the pivotal claim of the book, which is a rejection of what they term ‘the Modern Standard Picture’ (MSP) of refugee protection according to which (1) citizens are entitled to the protection of their basic rights by their home state, (2) a refugee is someone whose home state has failed to protect them so that they have had to flee from it and (3) international protection is a surrogate or substitute for the responsibilities of their home state implemented through the protection of another state. MSP is a widely held view (my own work may be seen as a version of it) but they argue that it cannot make sense of the focus of the Refugee Convention on overcoming obstacles to the rebuilding of refugee lives in the host state by establishing requirements on host states to provide some rights in forms equivalent to those enjoyed by citizens and the remainder in the form enjoyed by the most favoured immigrants: ‘if international protection is a surrogate for anything, it is the inability or unwillingness of the host state to protect and assist refugees in their territory’ (p.51). The simple but radical redirecting of the focus of refugee protection onto the obligation of the international community to provide the rights and resources for refugees to be able to rebuild their lives, to enjoy agency and welfare wherever they are, provides the basis on which their argument and proposals stand.
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