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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Throughout this paper, I will explain these contradictions between the prevailing discourse of humanitarianism and the lived experiences of humanitarian work by following in Malkki’s (as well as Ticktin’s and Cabot’s) footsteps to problematize the construction of refugees as “‘bare life’ removed from the realm of the political” (Holmes and Castañeda 2016,) with nothing of value to provide in the humanitarian encounter I will re-theorize this humanitarian encounter between refugees and resettlement organizations as the “refugee resettlement exchange,” a complex web of relationships in which food and hospitality goods, services, and intangible placeholders of value narratives travel in multiple directions between refugees and the people involved with their resettlement. Drawing on my personal experiences during my ten-week internship-cum-fieldwork period and the interviews I conducted with resettlement workers, I will locate my work within a discussion of narratives value and the biopolitical and capitalist underpinnings of conversations around refugees and their deservingness of resettlement services. Ultimately I argue that the reception and redeployment of refugee narratives by resettlement workers reveals the relational motivational and political value of these narratives as part of the refugee resettlement exchange.