Que(E)Rying Asylum An Ethnographic Study On The Discursive And Non-Discursive Construction Of LGBT Asylum Seekers In The UK
thesisposted on 2019-07-09, 13:49 authored by Maddalena Tacchetti
In recent years people seeking asylum in the UK on the ground of their sexuality has become a topic of heated debate in UK politics and law, fuelled by considerable coverage in the media and academia. Several investigations carried out by the UK government and NGOs expose the unfair treatment of LGBT asylum applicants, who struggle to provide evidence of membership to the LGBT social group, the key requirement for getting leave to remain in the UK in this type of asylum claims. Studies in the emerging research field of queer asylum scholarship have tried to unpack the identity category of the LGBT asylum seeker as constructed in major discourses and practice (i.e. at the level of law, government, media and support organizations), to expose how they tend to rely upon a homonormative conception of sexuality, which overlooks its intersection with other aspects of the individual identity and their respective struggles such as race, class, legal status and gender. This research aims to contribute to this body of inquiry from the standpoint of my situated experience of activist and researcher of the grassroots organization for the support of LGBT asylum seekers, which constituted my field of activism and research. The proposed methodology is an activist ethnography, which is overtly on the side of, that is to say partisan to, the chosen social group. Ethnographic observations will be coupled with discursive data analysed according to conventions in Discursive Psychology (DP), to understand how identity is discursively constructed in communicative exchanges and written texts. To read through the intricate world of LGBT asylum seekers and their supporters, I propose a poststructuralist framework, which accounts for the non-discursive and discursive elements in their interrelation. Ultimately the study explores the ways in which support organizations working with asylum seekers contribute to their silencing, whilst attempting to create an environment that helps to give voice to them.