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Places of Safety — Constructing Countries of Refuge

  • Steve Kirkwood
  • Simon Goodman
  • Chris McVittie
  • Andy McKinlay

Abstract

There is a range of evidence to suggest that asylum-seekers in the UK are fleeing dangerous situations in their countries of origin as shown in the previous chapter. These situations include persecution based on: gender (Crawley, 2010); sexual violence and the murder of family members (Sherwood & Liebling-Kalifani, 2012); torture (Behnia, 2004); and oppression and violence (Neumayer, 2005). A unifying characteristic of asylum-seekers is that they are from areas experiencing conflict and a lack of human rights. Taken together, this suggests that asylum-seekers were born into extremely dangerous countries and have been forced to leave for reasons of safety. In this chapter it is shown how refugees construct the UK as a place of refuge and — importantly — safety, which constitutes a specific place-identity (Durrheim & Dixon, 2005). While the UK is presented as a place of safety, it is not necessarily presented as a happy place or an ideal place to live, but safety is placed above this. While safety provides the main explanation for asylum-seekers coming to the UK, asylum-seekers’ claims about safety are not always accepted (the following chapter addresses the notion of the ‘bogus’ asylum-seeker who is deemed to be interested in financial gain), so claims about asylum-seekers being interested in safety are shown to be contested and debated. In addition to this, the safety of the UK as a host country is also debated, with some suggesting that asylum-seekers being housed in deprived communities can increase the safety in those areas, while others suggest that the presence of asylum-seekers can be damaging to safety.

Keywords

Host Country Sexual Violence High Security Safe Place Rhetorical Question 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Further reading

  1. Crawley, H. (2010). Chance or Choice? Understanding Why Asylum-Seekers Come to the UK. Leeds: Refugee Council.Google Scholar
  2. Robinson, V. & Segrot, J. (2002). Understanding the Decision-Making of Asylum-Seekers. London: Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Steve Kirkwood, Simon Goodman, Chris McVittie and Andy McKinlay 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steve Kirkwood
    • 1
  • Simon Goodman
    • 2
  • Chris McVittie
    • 3
  • Andy McKinlay
    • 1
  1. 1.University of EdinburghUK
  2. 2.Coventry UniversityUK
  3. 3.Queen Margaret UniversityUK

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