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Ilse Van Liempt and Francesco Vecchio

Refugees are both the outcome and the cause of processes of globalization. Their number has increased in recent years, illustrating the massive population shifts away from rural, marginalized and impoverished lives into larger, networked cities. When refugee networks expand, new resources become available; eventually more people are able to move along these established paths. Simultaneously, different state policies, politics and refugees’ growing dependency on third parties for their migration impact on and cause a distortion in refugee mobility. While many refugees continue to head for hard-to-reach yet desirable cities in Europe – for example, London – other refugees in developing countries now pragmatically head for countries – such as Hong Kong – that are more open to migration and/or less capable of enforcing immigration regulations. This chapter examines the interplay between global economics, states and refugees, arguing that Agamben’s conditions of ‘exception’ in relation to refugee camps also apply to those of refugees in cities. At the same time, such conditions are conducive to certain refugee agency.