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Processes of Spatialization in the Americas

Configurations and Narratives

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Edited By Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez and Hannes Warnecke-Berger

Where do the Americas begin, and where do they end? What is the relationship between the spatial constructions of «area» and «continent»? How were the Americas imagined by different actors in different historical periods, and how were these imaginations – as continent, nation, region – guided by changing agendas and priorities? This interdisciplinary volume addresses competing and conflicting configurations and narratives of spatialization in the context of globalization processes from the 19th century to the present.

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The Post–World War II Resettlement of European Refugees in Venezuela: A Twofold Translation of Migration

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Abstract: After World War II, approximately 18 million people were uprooted all over Europe. Many of them refused to be repatriated, mainly because they did not want to return to the communist Eastern Bloc. Thus, the International Refugee Organization (IRO) was created within the framework of the just-established United Nations. Between 1947 and January 1952, the IRO resettled more than 1 million refugees and displaced persons (DPs) all over the world. About 17,000 of them were resettled in Venezuela. Although the country was involved neither in World War II nor in the upcoming Cold War, it became one of the most important receiving countries of the resettlement in the Global South. While the IRO’s resettlement program has been mainly discussed from the perspective of European History, the chapter first argues to add the perspective of Venezuelan migration politics and history to the analysis of the program to understand the program as a spatialization process within global migration. Second, the chapter emphasizes the need to analyze the agency of refugees and DPs as well as the IRO field officers in the process of the resettlement. How did the involved actors translate the political idea of the resettlement into a solution for their personal needs and political convictions?

1Introduction

The end of World War II and the Allied victory over national-socialist Germany resulted in the second modern global refugee “challenge” after what had happened in the context of World War I (Ther 76). Approximately 18...

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