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Officially Categorized Queers: Strategies, Risks and Unintentional Effects When Navigating the Swedish Asylum Apparatus
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates the experiences and strategies of queer migrants seeking asylum in Sweden due to sexuality and/or gender identity. By conducting ethnographic fieldwork and biographical interviews within the RFSL Newcomers support network, the thesis analyses how queer migrants navigate the Swedish asylum apparatus. Building on recent research in queer migration studies, it explores how power relations related to class, gender and race affect queer migrants’ strategies. Applying Bruno Latour’s Actor-Network theory, the thesis furthermore analyses the queer migrants in an actor network together with RFSL Newcomers and the asylum apparatus as independent actors. This thesis additionally aims to contribute to the sociological debate on categorization and construction of identity using Ian Hacking’s concept of the looping effect. Lack of social capital, of not having the right networks, gendered possibilities of visibility and speaking about sexuality can establish obstacles for queer migrants in the credibility assessment and the success of the asylum claim. The asymmetric power relation forces queer migrants into conflicting strategies. Forced visibility and hyper hiding are strategies that are specifically produced in relation to the asylum apparatus creating gendered risk and precarious living conditions. This thesis concludes that queer migrants and the RFSL Newcomers network, in their asylum activism both challenge the asylum apparatus and Western narratives of LGBTQ identity. Nevertheless, RFSL and the queer migrants become complicit in the production of official essentialistic LGBTQ identities when navigating the asylum apparatus. By exploring the Swedish context of LGBTQ asylum and categorization of LGBTQ identity in the asylum process, this thesis contributes to the somewhat undertheorized field of queer migration in Swedish academia.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 76 p.
Keyword [en]
Queer migration, asylum, LGBTQ, categorization, ANT, looping effect, intersectionality
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-30648OAI: diva2:956049
Subject / course
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2016-08-29 Created: 2016-07-19 Last updated: 2016-08-29Bibliographically approved

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Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)

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