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Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Refugee law, gender and the concept of personhood
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Refugee law, gender and the concept of personhood

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date10/2013
JournalInternational Journal of Refugee Law
Number of pages32
Original languageEnglish


This article recognises that the notion of refugee is a politically and legally contested space and does not wish to undermine the theoretical and practical gains that have been made by critical approaches to refugees. Nevertheless, it argues that it is time for a new approach that avoids essentialising female refugees in terms of their gender and culture, and that creates a space for a more complex dialogue between the person seeking refugee status, those representing her, and those making decisions. The argument builds on recent critiques that suggest that existing practices risk appropriating a refugee woman’s experiences in a way that subverts her self-understanding by abstracting her gender and fragmenting her identity in order to define her as a victim of persecution. The concept of personhood is used to encourage decision makers to consider a more complex construction of the realities of refugee women’s myriad experiences