Author Archives: Tom Scott-Smith

About Tom Scott-Smith

Tom Scott-Smith is associate professor of refugee studies and forced migration at the University of Oxford. His first book, On an Empty Stomach: Two Hundred Years of Hunger Relief (Cornell, 2020), examines the history of humanitarian nutritional technologies, high protein foods, and emergency rations. He is now writing a book on disaster shelter, studying seven attempts to provide emergency accommodation to refugees since 2015. His related article on the Ikea shelter, “Beyond the Boxes: Refugee Shelter and the Humanitarian Politics of Life,” appeared in American Ethnologist in 2019.

Building a Bed for the Night: The Parisian “Yellow Bubble” and the Politics of Humanitarian Architecture

Abstract: The past decade has seen the expansion of architecture with an explicitly humanitarian purpose. This article examines the politics and functions of this movement by looking in detail at the humanitarian center at Porte de la Chapelle in Paris (the “Yellow Bubble”). Based on in-depth interviews and participant observation during 2017, the article shows how the center provided migrants with a bed for the night while at the same time serving the political imperative to clear informal settlements from the streets of Paris. The Continue reading → Continue reading →