Production of subjectivities from within: Interactions at the asylum “contact zone”

Authors: Tiffany Grobelski*,
Topics: Legal Geography, Human Rights, Immigration/Transnationalism
Keywords: legal geography, administrative law, immigration
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Virginia A, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper is focused on micro-level interactions between asylum seekers and asylum officers in the United States. What “epistemic disputations and political contestations” do asylum seekers and their advocates introduce into the refugee protection regime? How are such contestations aired and negotiated in real time, for example during the interview with an immigration official? What impact do these contestations have on the people involved and government officials’ thinking about their own work and the immigration regime? I discuss the interview as a site of interaction and co-constitution of state and migrant power and practices. I provide empirical examples of the mutual production of incomprehensibility, freedom, and resistance. This paper endeavors to be neither an analysis from the standpoint of migration nor from the standpoint of state power; rather, it is an analysis focused on the interaction between these two standpoints. It is interested in furthering our understanding of the co-constitution of subjectivity. Thus, this paper more broadly contributes to theories of legal and political subjectivity formation: specifically, how interactions between state and non-state actors shape people’s legal consciousness and political identities. It challenges monolithic views of governments, government actors, and state power in academic and popular discussions about immigration. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this abstract do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Homeland Security or the United States.

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