Investigating State Archives: revealing cultures of state in the archives of the Irish asylum and refugee determination process

Authors: Sasha Brown*, National University Of Ireland - Maynooth
Topics: Migration, Human Rights
Keywords: Migration, Removal, Legal Geographies
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Studio 8, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The border control that is enacted within state departments, tribunals and courts can reveal cultures of state with their own patterns of practice and treatment of asylum seekers and their applications for international protection. These agencies and individuals that are tasked with fulfilling the international obligations to hear and determine applications for refugee status and international protection from asylum seekers are important in studying migrant return and removal. However, it has been difficult for researchers to gain access to these sites and individuals (Maillet et al, 2016), and often only fleeting moments are available for critical research. This project investigates state archives as sites of key insight into revealing patterns of practice and treatment of asylum seekers and their applications for international protection (Stoler, 2010). This project uses innovative methods to investigate the digital archives of the Irish International Protection Appeals Tribunal as a whole and to drill down into specifics to identify systemic patterns of disbelief of asylum seekers and misuse of evidence. I argue that the Tribunal archives and Tribunal members (re)produce and (re)perform the narratives of asylum seekers into threats to the security of the state. I propose that mapping the evidence and absence of evidence in the archives fills gaps and identifies new lapses in our understanding of the ‘chaotic geographies’ (Hiemstra, 2013) of border enforcement by states, and the role of bureaucratic and legal cultures of state agencies in enforcing state borders.

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