Becca Mavin

Department: Politics
Discipline: Politics

Project Summary

My project investigates the experiences encountered by asylum seekers as they attempt to claim refugee status in the U.K. In particular, it concentrates on experiences that involve the body, and the ways that asylum seekers understand those experiences.

The body often undergoes very specific experiences within the asylum system (e.g. displaying the body and its injuries can provide crucial evidence to support a claim, and immigration detention involves physical confinement.) However, despite this, there is a relatively limited amount of academic literature concentrating on how asylum seekers themselves understand this aspect of their experiences, and how these experiences impact upon their understandings of themselves and their status as asylum seekers more generally. This research will address these questions, by drawing further attention to the many ways that scrutiny and control of the body can be central to an asylum claim, and also by investigating the impacts and consequences of this on asylum seekers’ lives.

Through an interdisciplinary approach encompassing fieldwork, policy analysis and theoretical consideration, the project aims to gain an insight into the ways that asylum seekers- and those working to support them- understand and are affected by their experiences. The research will also consider the different ways that the asylum system understands asylum seekers’ bodies and control them in a physical way. This will help me to examine the commonalities and differences in the understandings displayed by the system and those of the asylum seekers who experience it.

Ultimately, the research aims to build on these insights through considering how the asylum system could alter the ways that it thinks about and controls asylum seekers on a physical level in order to make it fairer and less distressing.

Supervisory Team

Andrew Schaap, Politics, University of Exeter and Katharine Charsley, Sociology, University of Bristol

Wider Research Interests

Asylum and Immigration Politics, Refugee Studies, Middle Eastern Politics, Citizenship and Belonging, Embodiment.