Degradation by design: corrosive control in the lives of women seeking asylum in bordered Britain

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Public Seminar Series, Hilary term 2020

Feminism, Categorisation and Forced Migration

This interdisciplinary series will explore a range of topics in refugee law, politics and history with particular attention being paid to feminist and/or gendered approaches to displacement and mobility and the categorisation(s) of people as 'refugees', 'citizens', 'settlers' or 'migrants'.

Series convenor: Dr Catherine Briddick, Martin James Departmental Lecturer in Gender and Forced Migration 

As gendered discourses around migration proliferate, focus is often trained on experiences of women in interpersonal capacities, primarily in regard to subjections to predominately male violence. Drawing on research in Britain and activist participation with women seeking asylum, this article expands this focus into the realm of state-corporate harms against women. Previous research evidences that immigration law and policy often work to minimalise autonomy at the ground level, and dependence on spousal visas or housing and finances can exacerbate dependence on men, including violent men. This article argues that this punitive landscape of Britain's asylum system facilitates further violence against women seeking asylum, rather than ensuring protection. Moreover, harm is inflicted by the structures of coercive control set out by the state and its amorphous relations with corporations. Such structures are largely manufactured by the British state, but increasingly enacted by its corporate allies. These environments, I argue, mirror those of domestically violent perpetrators and work to gradually corrode women's autonomy and indeed sense of safety. 

Registration not required. Light refreshments will be provided after the event.