Wednesday, August 3rd

Ulrike Davy introduced questions of dignity presented by the recent  refugee crises. Ulrike gave a presentation on the rights and protections provided to asylum seekers under German law and pressed the question of whether or not differential treatment permitted under the regime violated the German dignity clause. The fellows discussed the margins of appreciation acceptable on government provisions of basic assistance and the dignity implications of subjecting protections to minimal basic subsistence to systems of incentive and punishment.

Caterina Drigo gave a presentation on social rights under the Italian Constitution, focusing mainly on the rights to social assistance and health housing. Emphasizing how problems presented by the hyper-fragmentation of the normative framework might themselves represent violations of human dignity, Caterina offered insight into how the principle of solidarity might address this problem. Indeed, Caterina stressed how immigrants are often made the first targets for social exclusion policies and how this is a pathological symptom of a society that has lost its sense of community.
Michael Kolocek introduced a discussion on the right to adequate housing, as established by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Michael presented the results of his discourse analysis on thirty years of member state reports on the right to adequate housing placed before the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), noting the emergence of housing as a subject of global social policy. Michael used his work on homelessness to press the relationship between dignity and non-humiliation.

Video artist Anna Konik:

In the same city, under the same sky – interviews with immigrants

In the same city, under the same sky: so the title of a video installation by artist Anna Konik, devoted to the situation of female migrants in various European countries. Her work has already been exhibited in a number of museums for contemporary art, and also in the Swedish parliament. It was Anna Konik's contribution to the second phase of the Intercontinental Academia on Human Dignity and raised the questions: "Who counts as human? Whose lives count as lives? What makes a grievable life?" (Judith Butler, Precarious Life, 2004).