This article aims at positioning the agency of the displaced within the longue durée, as it is exposed in contexts of hospitality and asylum, by articulating its key modes: contingent, willed and compelled. Using the ancient world as its starting point, the article exposes the duplicity in conceiving of the current condition of displacement as transient or exceptional. As such, it argues for the urgent need of a shift in the perception of displaced persons from that of impotent victims to potent agents, and to engage with the new forms of exceptional politics which their circumstances engender.
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