We presented our work titled ‘What’s missing from legal geography and materialist studies of law? Absence and the assembling of asylum appeal hearings in Europe‘, based on the paper
Nick Gill, Jennifer Allsopp, Andrew Burridge, Dan Fisher, Melanie Griffiths, Jessica Hambly, Nicole Hoellerer, Natalia Paszkiewicz, Rebecca Rotter (2020) What’s missing from legal geography and materialist studies of law? Absence and the assembling of asylum appeal hearings in Europe. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 45: 937– 951. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12399 (open access, see here)
More information on the paper here.
What’s missing from legal geography and materialist studies of law? Absence and the assembling of asylum appeal hearings in Europe
Drawing on multi‐sited ethnography of European asylum appeal hearings in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, and the UK between 2013 and 2019 (Gill et al 2020) the presentation illustrates the importance of absences in asylum claim determination, and specifically asylum adjudication. We show how asylum hearings are haunted by absences of materials (such as evidence) and physical absences of participants such as asylum appellants, their legal representatives and government representatives.
We also discuss intangible absences, as we show that participants may be physically present, but simultaneously absent in other, psychological registers, often to the detriment of engagement, deliberation and legal quality. In so doing we demonstrate the importance and productivity of thinking not only about law’s omnipresence in legal bordering practices, but also the absences that shape the way legal bordering practices are experienced by asylum seekers in Europe, and how it is practised on the ground. We show that attending to the distribution of absence and presence at legal asylum hearings is a way to critically engage with legal performances in bordering practices in Europe.
Keywords: absence, asylum, legal bordering practices, ethnography, Europe, law