MIRIAM TICKTIN /// Humane Violence: A Critique of Innocence


In this conversation, Miriam Ticktin and I talk about the problematic characteristics of discourses and legislation that particularize figures of innocence. Suffering and sick bodies are particularly subject to this process that distinguish innocent subjects from their necessary corollary, guilty ones. Miriam unfolds for us this aspect of her work regarding migrant’s claims for humanitarian exceptions and asylum in France. We talk of the role of the medical expertise in this context, as well as NGOs and other humanitarian institutions’ self-claim of “apolitical” function contrasting their particularism for suffering women or children for instance. We ends this conversation with the illustrative example of the siege on Gaza. whose coverage tends to distinguish the innocence of Palestinian children, thus developing the legitimacy of a demagogic narrative in which Palestinian adults could be considered as less innocent.

Miriam Ticktin is associate professor of Anthropology at the New School for Social Research, and co-director of the Zolberg Center on Global Migration at the New School. She is the author of Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Humanitarianism in France, University of California Press, 2011 (co-winner of the 2012 Douglass Prize in Europeanist Anthropology); and In the Name of Humanity: the Government of Threat and Care (co-edited with Ilana Feldman), Duke University Press, 2010, along with a number of other articles and book chapters. She is also a founding co-editor of the journal Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development. See her Funambulist contributor page.

– “Calais: Containment Politics in the ‘Jungle’,” in The Funambulist 5 (May-Jun 2016) Design & Racism.


– http://www.newschool.edu/nssr/faculty.aspx?id=16338


–  Miriam Ticktin “Humanitarianism as Planetary Politics,” forthcoming in At the Limits of Justice: Women of Colour Theorize Terror, eds. Sherene Razack and Suvendrini Perera. University of Toronto Press.
– Miriam Ticktin, “Two Types of Sexual Violence? Y a-t-il deux types de violences sexuelles?” in “Les Mots Sont Importants”: http://lmsi.net/Two-Species-of-Sexual-Violence, December 3rd, 2012 .
– Miriam Ticktin, The Gendered Human of Humanitarianism: Medicalizing and Politicizing Sexual Violence,” in Gender and History 23 (2), August 2011: 250-265.
– Miriam Ticktin, “How Biology Travels: A Humanitarian Trip,” in Body and Society 17 (2&3), 2011: 139-158.
– Miriam Ticktin, “Sexual Violence as the Language of Border Control: Where French Feminist and Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric Meet,” in Signs: Journal of Women and Culture in Society 33 (4) Summer, 2008: 863-889.
– Miriam Ticktin, “Where Ethics and Politics Meet: The Violence of Humanitarianism in France,” in American Ethnologist, 33 (1) Feb 2006: 33-49.
– Léopold Lambert, “Refraining from the Figure of Innocence,” for The Funambulist (July 21, 2014)
– Léopold Lambert, “The Problem of Expertise: When (Flawed) Medicine Collaborates to Immigration Control,” for The Funambulist (May 9, 2014)


– Miriam Ticktin, Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Humanitarianism in France, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011.
– Miriam Ticktin and Ilana Feldman (eds), In the Name of Humanity: The Government of Threat and Care, Durham: Duke University Press, 2010.
– Didier Fassin and Mariella Pandolfi (eds), Contemporary States of Emergency: The Politics of Military and Humanitarian Interventions, New York: Zone Books, 2013