Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1388-3186
  • E-ISSN: 2352-2437


Drawing on theories of subjectivity and subject formation, this article explores the social construction of the category ‘refugee’ as a subject position. It purports that the refugee subjectivity, here called ‘refugeeness’, has been inscribed with traditionally ‘feminine’ characteristics, particularly the assumption of dependence and helplessness. Based on this claim, the paper argues that through policy aimed to control the lives of asylum seekers, men who fall within this category experience a process of emasculation as they are forced to adopt the purportedly docile subjectivity of ‘refugeeness’. Through in-depth interviews with several male asylum seekers in Switzerland, this paper seeks to understand how men experience their own sense of masculinity within the Swiss asylum classification system.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): asylum seekers; femininity; masculinity; refugees; subject theory; Switzerland
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