Recent decades have seen a proliferation of refugee camps, and today the refugee camp is one of the most poignant manifestations of humanitarian space. This dossier furthers the emerging critique of the “humanitarian management” of refugees, arguing that the process of encampment offers a vantage point to study the institutionalization of humanitarian governance. To this end, this collection of articles theorizes camps as hybrid spaces of humanitarianism. The practice of encampment thus gives rise to hybrid forms of governance, plural camp trajectories and individual migrant careers. The introduction to this special journal section on refugee camps introduces the dossier articles of Kirsten MConnachie, Bram Jansen, Maja Janmyr, Are John Knudsen and Michel Agier.