Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
White, A;
Organic functionalism, 'community' and place: Refugee studies and the geographical constitution of refugee identities
In Press
Optional Fields
The growth in the global population of refugees over the last 20 years has been paralleled by the development and growth of refugee studies as a recognised discipline. However refugees do not comprise a naturally self-delimiting domain of scientific knowledge and have been constituted by refugee studies through discourses that emphasise humanitarian, apolitical and organic functionalist discourses that root refugee identities in particular places. This paper argues that the presently inadequate constitution of refugee identities in refugee studies has been compounded by geographic representations of regional refugee emergencies, stable conceptions of refugees and asylum seekers and dated and unproblematic understandings of space as inactive and not constitutive of social life. Using data collected in interviews held between 1995 and 1998 with representatives from refugee and asylum institutions and organisations this paper illustrates how discourses and funding policies that unproblematically assume community groups represent refugees asylum seekers ignore transnational differences and tensions that can exist in marginalised communities. However it should be pointed out that the discourses about place, nationality and identity and `natural' communities can also be used by the powerless to resist their marginalised and excluded positions.
10.1016/S0016-7185(01)00009-4 |
Grant Details