Title

Ageing and Stateless: Non-decisionism and State Violence across Temporal and Geopolitical Space from Bhutan to the United States

Document Type

Book

Publication Date

9-2021

Abstract

State violence encompasses the actions states choose to take or choose not to take. Non-decisionism; which is decisionism’s philosophical reverse; is the idea that not only action and judgment cause state violence; but; at times; state failure to act and decide. In this chapter; building on previous and current work; the case of older Bhutanese refugees who were denationalized and resettled in the United States is interrogated as a limit case to the promise of durable solution for refugee statelessness. While resettlement with a route to citizenship is a conventional durable solution for stateless refugees; not all refugees are capable; much less are they permitted; to integrate into the fabric of citizenship. There is no viable path to citizenship for them. This chapter explores how the old; frequently illiterate refugees stuck in their places of resettlement find themselves in a state of permanent non-citizenship. State non-decisionism in the grant or withholding of citizenship; by U.S. citizenship law and international and domestic refugee law and policy; leaves them stateless. Resettled-yet-stateless; they surrender entitlement to all of the essential benefits of citizenship and to citizenship itself. By arguing the relation of state violence across temporal and spatial distances; this chapter extends correlations of non-decisionism. From the exclusionary decision-making behavior of the Bhutanese state some 30 years ago to the non-decisionism of the American state; state non-decisionism is presented not as an anomaly but a rule and its existence across time and national boundaries should be acknowledged and realized in our post-modern age.

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