The sexual politics of asylum: lived experiences of sexual minority asylum seekers and refugees in the UK

Giametta, Calogero (2014) The sexual politics of asylum: lived experiences of sexual minority asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract / Description

The thesis explores lived experiences of sexual minority asylum seekers and refugees in the UK and the analysis emerges from a two-year long ethnography with 60 people. I chose to focus on sexuality in the context of asylum in order to trace parallelisms and differences amongst the conditions of subalternity to which non-heteronormative subjects can be exposed in different geo-political locations. In the process I seek to: i) understand the specificity of the experiences of identification and belonging of people claiming asylum for fear of persecution in their countries of origin because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and ii) to elicit and examine the migratory experience from the asylum claimant's standpoint within the structural constrictions emerging from the current UK migration regime. The thesis consists of two main analytical trajectories. First, I examine how the migratory experience of the studied sexual minority migrants is located within a set of humanist discourses that privileges suffering and trauma as the most potent way for the subject to receive state protection. In this regard, I introduce a critique of humanitarianism insofar as sexuality (as a rights-claim object) comes under scrutiny in the context of migration control practices and discourses. Further, by examining UK law I ask how non-heteronormative lives are construed in the asylum determination process, from the initial stage of a claim to the end of it, and how sexuality travels, namely how it is translated, in such sites. Second, I elaborate on the structural discourses explored throughout the thesis by putting them into direct dialogue with the findings arising from the ethnography. Within this space respondents' biographical accounts highlight how being situated in liminal socio-political and legal interstices precarious forms of life. The study contributes to current migration and sexuality scholarship by offering a critique of recent formations of neocolonial political discourses with the emergence of sexuality as a legitimate field for claiming rights in the realm of international relations. In this regard, my analytical endeavour is not dedicated solely to exploring respondents' supposed subalternity in their countries of origin, rather my focus is to examine the situations that produce states of subalternity whilst living in Britain. I seek to highlight that the passage from oppression in one's country to liberation in the UK is much more complex than how it is dominantly portrayed in the current global ethical-political stage.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: sexual minorities; asylum seekers; refugees; sexual orientation; gender identity
Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 320 Political science
Department: School of Social Sciences (to June 2021)
Depositing User: Chiara Repetto
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2022 14:25
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2022 14:25


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