Where Asylum-Seekers Wait: Feminist Counter-Topographies of Sites between States


Mountz, Alison. 2011. "Where Asylum-Seekers Wait: Feminist Counter-Topographies of Sites between States." Gender, Place and Culture 18 (3): 381-99.

Author: Alison Mountz


This article examines topographies and counter-topographies of power operating transnationally across a range of sites inhabited by asylum-seekers en route between nation-states. In locations such as tunnels, detention centers and islands, journeys across time and space are truncated in myriad ways. For asylum-seekers, temporality is often conceptualized as waiting, limbo or suspension. These temporal zones map onto corresponding spatial ambiguities theorized here as liminality, exception and threshold. A feminist counter-topography of sites along time–space trajectories between states addresses both the architecture of exclusionary enforcement practices that capture bodies, and the transgressive struggles to map, locate, counter and migrate through the time–space trajectories between states. In outlining such counter-topography, the analysis enters into conversation with transnational feminist scholarship on politics of location and differentiation in order to challenge the universal dimensions of Giorgio Agamben’s zones of exception that leave the un-differentiated body always paradoxically outside of juridical order.

Keywords: asylum, refugee, detention, transnational feminism, migration, nation-state

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Refugees, Refugee/IDP Camps

Year: 2011

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