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Refugees and asylum seekers


Aid as a way to govern people in a refugee camp

By Florence Evans-Thomas, Lucie McCrone, Lara van Golen, Daniel Voznak, Finlay Watson

Anthropological perspectives can provide a useful lens through which to analyse humanitarian and development issues as they provide attention to the individual experiences of the people they affect. Our project will use anthropological theories which will be illustrated through drawings and then filmed to create a short video on the ways humanitarian aid has been used as a way to govern people, with particular focus on the setting of the Moria refugee camp on the Greek Island of Lesvos. [Continue reading]

The Road to Resettlement

By: Jessica Clayton, Filipa Serranito, Ellie Hitchmough, Arisa Koide, Imia Parker-Bruce

According to the UNHCR, in mid-2022 103 million people were estimated to be forcibly displaced worldwide (UNHCR, 2022). Of these, 32.5 million are refugees, and the majority (72%) originated from only five countries: the Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela, Ukraine, Afghanistan and South Sudan (UNHCR, 2022). Their displacement may come from various reasons, be it climate-related insecurities, violent conflict or personal persecution. But staying in refugee camps constitutes a short-term solution to their safety (or not even a solution at all). [Continue reading]


This year, the blog entries are in the style of lesson plans. Take a look! 

Deconstructing the Refugee: Understanding both the biological and the social lives of refugees

Bare Life in Relation to Child Refugees


The blog entries this year are on Adobe Spark. You can find them here: 


How does the Hostile Environment prevent refugees and asylum seekers from creating a fully integrated social life in the UK, and how is this resisted?

By Georgia Ager-Perera, Sorcha Cullen, Maisie Gater, Rebecca Langella, Freya Lock-Pullan, Roberta Miglioranza, Tania Stein

In the UK, refugees and asylum seekers are currently prevented from fully integrating into British society due to the enforcement of Home Office policies. As a result, they occupy a liminal space between inclusion and exclusion, a ‘middle ground between mere biological life and full social existence’ (Rozakou, 2012:562). They have to comply with the rules set by the British state, yet are denied the rights given to fully realised citizens. However, refugees, asylum seekers, and the organisations that support them, are increasingly active in resisting this exclusion by creating new social ties in the UK. [Continue reading.]

Challenges for Female Refugees and Asylum Seekers

By Madelaine Apthorpe, Constance Burtschell, Sophie Burton, Lauren Gibson, and Freya Lightfoot

Throughout the immigration process, female refugees are disproportionately exposed to more dangers than men and continue to face challenges in their integration into society. The following text will explore the adversity women face in a socio-political framework, the support networks that are in place and the areas in need of attention. Women refugees are often absent from the media discourse and public discussions on migration. The images of refugees that are circulated, the stories reported on, and the statistics often set them aside to focus on the male migrant. [Continue reading.]


Refugee status: The interdependence of production and destruction

By Ieva Barzdzlute, Leila Benarus, Melissa Crane, Lucille Corby, Mollie Eadsforth, Elisabeth McCormick, Henry Jay McWhirter, and Zara Raffeeq

The process of acquiring refugee status affects the identities and experiences of displaced people in both productive and destructive ways. We argue, using anthropological literature, that these effects, which arise through official asylum processes, are interrelated; no one case of acquiring refugee status is wholly productive or destructive. We will use the work of Sophia Rainbird, Laura DeLuca and Heath Cabot to formulate our argument, and then refer to the work of the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) to contextualise our discussion. [Continue reading]

An Anthropological perspective on the variations of refugee suffering that sheds light onto the required multiplicity of humanitarian aid

By Ariadni Fischer, Maddie Lablaine, Khadija Mahmood-Sabir, Elizabeth Ryalls, Ella Sinclair, and Annabelle Swift

Anthropologist Micah Trapp (2016) stated that ‘the humanitarian apparatus requires suffering’ (416). Suffering is often used to legitimise humanitarian aid. However, Ticktin (2014) explains how this focus on ‘the suffering subject’ created a universal suffering victim that must be aided as ‘the suffering body’ (276). Anthropologists have claimed that this focus on the suffering body has led to the depolitisation and dehistoricisation of the experiences of victims of suffering, such as refugees (Gilbert, 2016). [Continue reading] 


Anthropological perspectives on refugee children

By Zoe Black, Maximilian Ibrahimi, Riva Japaul, Emma King, Sophia Rawlinson, Matilda Wilde

When considering the circumstances people face as a result of displacement, it often seems the case that adults and children are grouped homogeneously together into a single category of suffering, with little attention paid to how their experiences may differ. However, according to the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU), children’s cases are generally of greater complexity due to their vulnerability and dependence on others for security. [Continue reading]

Why people want refugee status

By Amelia Kaye, Isobel Robins, Elle Mcqueen, Jacob Green, Ken-An Sara Isaac, Lise Albertsen, Tessa Bannister

The universal definition of refugee, as stated by the UN refugee agency, is ‘any person forced to flee from their country by violence or persecution’ (UNHCR 2017). The organisation states that ‘a refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group’ (ibid.). Refugees ‘cannot return home or are afraid to do so’ (ibid). Whilst this definition is comprehensive, it may hide the fact that refugees themselves contest the term and mobilise it in varying contexts. [Continue reading]


Beyond the label of ‘refugees’

By Hannah Adamson, Lucy Elizabeth Attwooll-Jones, Sarah Bretton, Harriet Donaldson, Anna Kerby, Sophie Robinson, Alicia Rémont Ospina, Tuana Selvi

Anthropology is grounded in understanding social and cultural variations and similarities in the world (Eriksen, 2001: 1). By providing insight into refugees’ own perceptions of the socio-political conditions they are subjected to upon arriving in a host country, anthropology can help us understand the various requirements refugees have to follow in different contexts across the globe. Through ethnography, issues of displacement can be understood from refugees’ perspectives and based on the effects, sometimes unintended, of development and humanitarian work. [Continue reading]

Making the familiar unfamiliar

By Callum Connor, Charles Cook, Sakira Intrabal, Alexandra Mcintosh, Alexandra Wood

Anthropology as a discipline is primarily concerned with the everyday practices and intricacies of daily life. Therefore, this facilitates an understanding of the political and managerial aspects of humanitarian expertise. Anthropological analysis also provides a bottom-up perspective on policy through making ‘the familiar unfamiliar.’ This means that anthropology questions normative forms of understanding the world and challenges taken-for-granted categories. [Continue reading]