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Impoverishment and Asylum: Social Policy as Slow Violence – Leeds University – 29th January 13:00-14:00

When? 29 January 2020 12.30-13.00 refreshments; 13.00-14.00 presentation

Where? Social Sciences 12.21/12.25 University of Leeds

Who? Dr Lucy Mayblin from the University of Sheffield.


In this talk I will argue that a shift has taken place in recent decades from construing asylum as primarily a political and/or humanitarian phenomenon, to construing it as primarily an economic phenomenon, and that this shift has had led to the purposeful impoverishment, by the state, of people seeking asylum in the UK. This shift has had far-reaching consequences for people seeking asylum, who have been systematically impoverished as part of the effort to strip out any possibility of an economic pull factor leading to more arrivals, but also for those administering their support system, and for civil society organisations and groups who seek to ameliorate the worst effects of the resulting asylum regimes. This talk argues that within this context asylum support policies in the UK which are meant to help and protect, in fact do serious harm to their recipients. It argues that the shift from construing asylum seekers as economically, rather than politically, motivated migrants across the West, is part of a much broader set of historical and philosophical worldviews than has previously been articulated. Drawing on postcolonial and decolonial perspectives in making sense of the purposeful impoverishment by the state of a particular group of people, this talk will explore why this continues to be tolerated in the fourth richest country in the world.

Lucy Mayblin is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Sheffield. She is the author of the award winning Asylum After Empire (2017) and numerous articles and chapters which explore contemporary refugee and asylum policy within the context of histories of colonialism. Her new book Impoverishment and Asylum: Social Policy as Slow Violence was published in December 2019 with Routledge.


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