Asserting Existence: Agentive Narratives Arising From the Restraints of Seeking Asylum in East Anglia, Britain

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11 Citations (Scopus)


This article is based on fieldwork (2002-2003) in Great Yarmouth and Norwich in Britain with asylum seekers from Iraq, Iran, Kenya, Kosovo, Congo, and Montenegro as they await the outcome to their application for refugee status. During this period of liminality, their narratives were both urgent and repetitive expressions of their current immigration status and, to a lesser extent, their past experiences. In this article, I consider how such narratives are elicited by asylum seekers to craft an agentive capacity during this liminal period to overcome an existential crisis and assert their existence within society. Stories that recount traumatic experiences work as a way of reconciling a past that can no longer exist and a current state of liminality with a new sense of being in the world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-478
Number of pages19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Asylum
  • Narrative
  • Refugees
  • Storytelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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