The material politics of asylum support: Speed, intimacy, and confusion

Dan X. Fisher, Sarah M. Hughes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


What can a whiteboard, a telephone, a kettle, and a fax machine tell us about the UK border? In this chapter, we utilise object stories as a lens through which to further the understandings of forced migration. Using field notes from our time spent volunteering as participant observers in two separate asylum drop-in centres in the UK, we use object stories to explore the ways in which the border is enacted, encountered, and resisted in drop-in spaces. The aims of our analysis are threefold. First, we demonstrate how focusing on objects and their stories can be a useful means of approaching ‘the’ border and the lived realities of those that occupy its liminal spaces. Second, we discuss how focusing on these objects and their use in the drop-in centre helps to illuminate the intimacy of state power. Third, through focusing on objects in contested spaces, we analyse their role in resisting state bordering practices, mindful of the possibility for such objects to become entangled in the bordering practices against which they struggle. This chapter concludes with a call for further attention to be paid to the material politics of resistance in the context of border control.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUK Borderscapes
Subtitle of host publicationSites of Enforcement and Resistance
EditorsKahina Le Louvier, Karen Latricia Hough
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781003350255
ISBN (Print)9781032395487, 9781032395500
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2023

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