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Constructing a Queer Haven: Sexuality and Nationhood in Discourses on LGBT Asylum in the UK

Raboin, T; (2013) Constructing a Queer Haven: Sexuality and Nationhood in Discourses on LGBT Asylum in the UK. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

The relationship between nationhood and sexuality has been increasingly examined in recent years, both in academia and by activists. This thesis analyses UK discourses on LGBT asylum in this context, focussing on heterogeneous corpora ranging from Home Office directives to media narratives. A first chapter is dedicated to a conceptualisation of LGBT asylum as a social problem; doing so, it conceives of the social problem as a travelling concept that can be applied productively in post-structuralist discourse theory. A threefold argument is built using this methodology. Firstly, the second chapter demonstrates how LGBT asylum is a central part of a larger discursive environment, which articulates human rights with a civilisation-related discourse linking sexual tolerance to modernity and liberalism. This chapter argues that LGBT asylum rights and the asylum seekers themselves bear particular significance in these larger discourses for they provide examples of victims of non-Western sexual intolerance that allow for the repetition of narratives about civilisation. The third chapter examines the consequences of these discursive articulations on how asylum is managed by the state. It proposes that the biopolitics of asylum are based on an apparatus of recognition of LGBT subjects that owes much to homonationalist representations. Finally the fourth and last chapter examines more closely the production of LGBT asylum seekers’ subjectivities by focusing on the testimonial speeches that can be found in news media and NGO discourses. It argues that testimonies are part of a discursive economy in which the testimonies' truthfulness has a value that is used strategically by competing enunciators in public arenas. By engaging with the testimonial production of victims to be saved by the liberal state, this part makes connections between findings from the previous chapters. It concludes by looking at potential subversions of this discursive economy in an art project with lesbian asylum seekers.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Constructing a Queer Haven: Sexuality and Nationhood in Discourses on LGBT Asylum in the UK
Language: English
Additional information: Permission for digitisation not received.
Keywords: nationhood, queer, forced migration, discourse analysis
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > European and Intl Social and Political Studs
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1393493
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