Accepted Paper:

Diasporic counterpublics: Iranian asylum Seekers in Turkey  
Navid Fozi (Bridgewater State University)

Paper short abstract:

This is a field research on Iranian asylum seekers in Turkey-transit migrants composed of religious minorities and LGBTQ. I address issues including Turkish policies and transit processes; homeland, host country and international politics; as well as membership criteria and identity development.

Paper long abstract:

This talk draws on my fieldwork with Iranian asylum seekers in Turkey: transit migrants composed of religious minorities, LGBTQ, political dissidents, and ethnic groups who pursue a permanent resettlement in a third country. It explores issues including transit processes and the right of asylum; homeland, host country and international politics and policies; as well as transnational practices and identity development. My analytical framework builds on two theoretical/conceptual interventions that address (con)temporariness of diverse migrants in a globalized context. First, accounting for the religious, gender, and ethnopolitical multiplicities schematizing the Iranian migratory terrain, I problematize the analytical utility of 'asylum' and 'refugee' as homogenizing legal and political categories. While others have addressed this shortcoming, a theoretical solution has not yet been advanced. Second, I approach the transitory migration period between seeking and receiving asylum as a phase in formation of the global Iranian diasporas. Accordingly, a diaspora concept is employed to analyze a voluntary resettlement in a formative cultural continuum rather than an abrupt expulsion of a monolithic collectivity. Avoiding dichotomous models of home/host or geography/genealogy, I employ a processual and imaginary concept of diaspora in order to articulate the place of the third country in the development of the diasporic subjectivity, which entails national and legal loyalties, as well as emotional ties.

Panel P003
Anthropologists between the Middle East and Europe: war, crises, refugees, migration and Islamophobia [AMCE]