Affective border violence: Mapping everyday asylum precarities across different spaces and temporalities

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This paper stems from my long-term involvement in asylum activist communities in London and Berlin and is an analysis of the emotional work of borders. It describes asylum seekers’ daily journeys through endless spaces of discomfort and depletion, which I conceptualise as affective border violence. Stories about different public and private spaces such as the post office, gay clubbing and Berlin's asylum camp spaces will illustrate how affective technologies are mobilised to manage asylum seekers' bodies, time and space. The aims of this paper are threefold: 1) to illustrate how affective border violence works through occupying emotional and mental space by creating an overwhelming amount of emotional borderwork, 2) to illustrate how states mobilise power and violence in and through specific temporal modalities such as fearful anticipation, continuity and the everyday, and 3) how people seeking asylum negotiate affective border violence through re-claiming bodily and temporal space. The empirical elements of this paper include personal reflections, participatory work within and outside of asylum activist groups in London and Berlin, in-depth conversations and friendships with people registered as asylum seekers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100702
Number of pages7
JournalEmotion, Space and Society
Early online date25 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


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