New state-theoretic approaches to asylum and refugee geographies.

This paper examines recent innovations in the way the concept of the state is employed by geographers researching forced migrants’ and refugees’ experiences. A still-dominant body of thought tends to essentialize the state and foreground both its institutional forms and coercive powers by asking questions that take the primacy of these attributes for granted. In response, poststructuralist geographers and sociologists have begun to forge alternative views of states, drawing upon a useful cynicism over the coherence of the state, as well as an engagement with Foucauldian notions of governmentality. The paper examines these alternative approaches in order to distil the characteristics of an emerging critical asylum geography.

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