Responding to Netflix's Stateless Series
Misrecognition and Missed Opportunities
The six episode Netflix series, Stateless, represents a missed opportunity to engage in vital public framing of statelessness. Rather than focusing on the lack of legal nationality, the series falsely equates statelessness with other rights issues central to migration detention. In this collaborative work between a stateless activist and an academic researcher, the authors use Stateless as a starting point for a broader conversation about words, definitions and representation. First, statelessness has partially emerged on the international human rights agenda, yet film and television attention could further foster mainstream understanding of this oft-ignored issue. Second, a critical assessment of the Stateless series highlights how it does (and mostly does not) engage with the issue of statelessness. Third, reflections and recommendations relate to why the series’ title is so problematic, what the media can learn from stateless people and what this conversation means for advocacy.