Accepted Paper:

'Kicked around like a ball' the life journey of Nur Alam, a Rohingya man  


Josee Huennekes (Swinburne University of Technology)

Paper short abstract:

The refugee journey remains significantly under-researched. Based on the life-story of Nur Alam, a Rohingya man from Myanmar, this paper explores the impact of multiple displacements and permanent liminality in the life of a Rohingya refugee.

Paper long abstract:

Nur Alam is a stateless Rohingya man born in the Northern part of Rakhine state in Myanmar, an area that has been riddled with conflict and multiple mass exoduses for more than half a century. Barely twelve years old, he was forced to leave his family and his home behind and made his way to Yangon, where he lived for the next two decades. After multiple forced relocations and physical threats to his family, Nur Alam decided to move his wife and his four children to Malaysia in search of better life-chances.

However, in Malaysia too, Rohingya face exploitation and abuse. Being stateless and being persecuted, Nur Alam spent his entire life in a state of perpetual liminality. Only resettlement to the USA, yet another displacement, succeeded in finally moving Nur Alam's life out of this condition of permanent liminality.

Informed by 18 months field research among four Rohingya families living in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur this paper takes the life story of one Rohingya man to give voice to his unique experience of multiple displacement. This paper furthermore aims to make a contribution to a conceptualization of the embodiment of liminality.

Panel RM-CPV04
Moving and moving again: embodied identifications along multiple trajectories