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S01 ¸.·`¯´·.¸¸.·`¯´·.¸¸.·`¯´·.¸¸.·`¯´·.¸¸.·`¯´·.¸¸.·`¯´·.¸¸.·`¯´·.¸¸.·`¯´·.¸¸.·`¯´·.¸¸.·`¯´·.¸¸.·`¯´·.¸¸.·E22
¸.·`¯´·.¸¸.·`¯ON SHELTER AND 
¸.·`¯´·.¸¸.INTERNATIONAL LAW
¸.·`¯´·.¸¸.·`¯´·.¸¸.·`¯´·.¸
¸.·`¯´·.¸¸.·`By Helene Kazan
To what extent can the need for shelter, in particular the need for shelter under threat, be viewed as the spatialization of International Law? International Law is not merely an abstraction, but, I argue, it is materialized in an emergency bunker, a tented refugee camp, and even a gated luxury development. Then do all humans and nonhumans experience International Law in the same way? And if we start from these spatialized conditions, how can we conceive of its affective qualities? 

In 1941 the British Ministry of Home Security began recommending the use of an indoor table shelter, otherwise known as the Morrison Shelter. The state thus appropriated the domestic arena in the name of “national security,” as “military necessity” in the context of the unprecedented and widespread aerial bombing of the Second World War. In the public announcement of the shelter, two images were circulated: one depicting a civilian couple sleeping comfortably inside the table shelter, the other presenting the table shelter after a simulation of aerial bombardment. 
Designed for use in low-income households, the Morrison Shelter reproduced a certain classed subject. The shelters were specifically engineered only to work in the event of an indirect strike, and even then, it was designed to squash down plastically by 12 inches. In these shelters, at least half a million households were subjected to a higher threshold of risk: a spectrum of other, more secure, shelters were available across the UK, mostly to homeowners with access to outdoor space or gardens. Therefore, citizens with no other choice – often because of economic circumstances – were asked by the British government to purposefully subject their bodies, and the bodies of their loved ones, to the incalculable violence of direct or indirect danger. Published statistics by the government on the Morrison Shelter, which observed 39 damaged households, found 4 people killed and 21 injured out of the 119 people who occupied the shelters. [1]

In International Law’s incapacity to protect civilians, access to shelter is a result of political and economic conditions. “Resilient” populations are born through architectural and environmental techniques of governance, determined not only by class, but also by race. This idea of safety offers us a lens for understanding ongoing, internationally-enabled violence (as in Syria) today. What phenomenological quality of International Law does this condition point to, as civilians of a certain class or race continue to be forced into conditions where they are unable to find shelter against the threat of violence? Could this ever be reformed through International Law? The example of the Morrison shelter demands we ask: Why is the prospect of shelter-against-threat in the hands of architecture? Further, why hasn’t International Law taken up its capacity and responsibility to provide this protection instead? [2]
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[1] National Archives, "Shelters: Why Where So Many Shelters Built During 1939-1941?," Learning Curve Exhibition: Home Front. 

[2] Yoriko Otomo, Unconditional Life: The Postwar International Law Settlement (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). 
 
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