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Asylum as Protection

L'asile comme protection

“Diasporas” Journal

Revue « Diasporas : circulations, migrations, histoire »

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Published on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 by João Fernandes

Summary

The right to asylum is now defined as legal protection offered to exiles who request it. This notion of protection is part of a long history of asylum. Principalities and cities of refuge used this word as early as the end of the 17th century, when waves of religious migration (Sephardic Jews, Bohemian Lutherans, Huguenots...) multiplied. By offering land and houses, the edicts, such as the Potsdam edict of 1685 reserved for French exiles, first proposed a material shelter as the very etymology of the word “protection”, protectio deriving from the Latin protectum, “roof, roofing” implies. Shelter from persecution was accompanied by specific civil rights, the rights of conscience and the right to property. The edict necessarily involves an oath of obedience and a voluntary submission to the prince.

Announcement

Argument

The right to asylum is now defined as legal protection offered to exiles who request it. This notion of protection is part of a long history of asylum. Principalities and cities of refuge used this word as early as the end of the 17th century, when waves of religious migration (Sephardic Jews, Bohemian Lutherans, Huguenots...) multiplied. By offering land and houses, the edicts, such as the Potsdam edict of 1685 reserved for French exiles, first proposed a material shelter as the very etymology of the word "protection", protectio deriving from the Latin protectum, "roof, roofing" implies. Shelter from persecution was accompanied by specific civil rights, the rights of conscience and the right to property. The edict necessarily involves an oath of obedience and a voluntary submission to the prince.

“Protection" in the early modern age is a legal concept and practice that is difficult to define and yet essential for embracing a set of asymmetrical social relations. It is still little studied.  Derived from feudalism, it designates a relationship that is both juridical and symbolic, whether between men or between sinners and divine figures of intercession. In 1741, its definition was narrowed in Zedler's dictionary: "protegere” means, in legal terms, to cover, shelter, protect, defend, preserve something; to defend and take under its protection one’s vassal or one’s inhabitants [Schutz-Verwandten, literally protected relatives] against a foreign power".  In the same years, Trévoux’s dictionary uses this term to describe the relations of patronage and clientele: "a good protector at court. Every Nation, every Order of Religious has a Cardinal Protector in Rome".

Symbolic, legal and religious, protection is one of the major forms of social relations. The notion enables to conceptualize and legitimize relations of social and political domination, both in an informal framework and within specific jurisdictions. Protection constitutes the very form of the exercise of political power according to a double dynamic where bonds of dependence reinforce the power of the protector and his "credit". We find this relationship at work in the practices of charity towards the poor and in the pleas of exiles. Protection poses many crucial questions: What is the nature of this protection offered by the right of asylum to exiles? What symbolic or material compensation does it imply? How has this protection been progressively constructed as a right and on what model is it based? Does the protection offer privileged access to citizenship or, on the contrary, does it keep the exiles on a threshold?

Questioning this notion from the perspective of European migrations, through a long chronology, is the project of this thematic issue, which will appeal to historians specializing in several periods with an emphasis on the early modern period, but also to jurists, legal historians and sociologists.

Submission guidelines

Proposals are to be sent to Naïma Ghermani (naima.ghermani@univ-grenoble-alpes.fr), with a summary of the paper (1 page, about 3500 characters).

Deadline for proposals : 30 March 2021

Deadline for paper submission : January 2022

naima.ghermani@univ-grenoble-alpes.fr

Proposals evaluation

They will be examined by the editor for the special issue (Naïma Ghermani, Université Grenoble-Alpes / LUHCIE) and the Editorial Committee of the journal (https://journals.openedition.org/diasporas/190).

Subjects


Date(s)

  • Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Keywords

  • asile, migrations, protection, droit, époque moderne

Contact(s)

  • Naïma Ghermani
    courriel : naima [dot] ghermani [at] univ-grenoble-alpes [dot] fr

Information source

  • Mathilde Monge
    courriel : mathilde [dot] monge [at] univ-tlse2 [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Asylum as Protection », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, https://calenda.org/855649

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