May 8, 2019 - 12:00 pm



Koc University Rumelifeneri Campus, Faculty of Social Sciences Building, SOS143   View map

SOCIOLOGY TALKS by Aslı İkizoğlu Erensu (in collaboration with MiReKoc)

8 May (Wednesday), 12:00-13:30

Room: SOS 143

Vulnerable Agency: A Feminist Geopolitical Take on the Global Refugee Regime

Increasingly since the 1980s, both the United Nations Refugee Agency and resettlement countries have been relying on the notion of vulnerability to categorize, govern and assist refugees. While these attempts assume that vulnerability can be objectively assessed and measured, vulnerability is in fact produced as part of the relations between refugees and governing authorities. Based on fieldwork conducted in a Central Anatolian city, I will address in this presentation the politics of vulnerability by tracing how refugee vulnerability is constructed and how different refugee groups negotiate and resist such constructions. Discourses of vulnerability, in trying to locate those who are in need of more protection due to their bodily and sexual differences, summon victims emptied out of agency. Yet, refugees use their agency to prove and even to become vulnerable in the eyes of authorities. I will zoom in on the contradictions inherent in this process by using the tools of feminist geopolitics.


Aslı İkizoğlu Erensü is currently teaching at the Sabancı University Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. She holds a PhD in Geography, Environment and Society from the University of Minnesota. She is broadly interested in regimes of mobility and politics of humanitarianism, and specifically has worked on (i) how refugees are constituted as subjects of intervention at the intersection of the two, and (ii) how the experience of asylum is locally produced in Turkish cities. She has published on these issues in both Turkish and English-language journals, including Citizenship Studies and Journal of Refugee Studies.