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Exhortations of happiness: liberalism and nationalism in the discourses on LGBTI asylum rights in the UK

Raboin, T; (2016) Exhortations of happiness: liberalism and nationalism in the discourses on LGBTI asylum rights in the UK. Sexualities , 20 (5-6) pp. 663-681. 10.1177/1363460716645802. Green open access

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Abstract

The concept of homonationalism has proven useful to analyse the political problematization of LGBTI human rights in the UK. This article analyses discourses on LGBTI asylum in the UK, and focuses in particular on the relationship between liberalism, nationhood and hospitality. Using the methods of discourse analysis it demonstrates that, with asylum, queerness becomes a porous frontier in and out of the nation. Looking firstly at narratives of asylum cases, the article shows how they create a specific temporality, where queer futures are deemed impossible outside of the UK. Then, it looks at how the tropes of the domestic homophobic past and the homophobic elsewhere interact in discourses to produce a unique type of politicization of asylum, whereby British liberal queers can be invested in defending the rights of LGBTI asylum seekers. Finally, the article unpacks what constitutes the promise of ‘happy queer futures’ in the UK. Doing so, it shows that homonationalism is more than a collusion between certain gay and lesbian subjectivations and the liberal state, but rather that it provides complex ways of understanding and articulating sexuality, nationhood and homonormative practices. The article will thus argue that happiness works as an exhortation as much as a promise in asylum, and that the queer futurism offered by homonationalist discourses on asylum perpetuate a dream of the good life – albeit a homonormative conception of it, where happiness, individual freedom and autonomy on the market are closely intertwined.

Type: Article
Title: Exhortations of happiness: liberalism and nationalism in the discourses on LGBTI asylum rights in the UK
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1363460716645802
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1363460716645802
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2016. Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav
Keywords: Asylum; liberalism; migration; nation; queer
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 > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1512330
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