Accidents, agency and asylum: Constructing the refugee subject

Simon Behrman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Refugee law demands that the asylum seeker demonstrate an extremely limited and distorted form of agency that is encapsulated within the legal definition of the refugee. Such a framework also denies the role of the accidental in the refugee experience. I argue that the problem lies at the heart of the legal form, as constructed under capitalism. The sans-papiers show us the potential for refugees themselves to reconstruct a subjectivity that transcends the distorted form of agency and the false dichotomy between the accidental and agency found in law, through their rejection of legal definitions and the re-emergence of themselves as political subjects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-270
Number of pages21
JournalLaw and Critique
Issue number3
Early online date19 Jun 2010
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

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