Fractured protection and bodily exhaustion: Navigating the paradigm shift in Danish asylum policy

29 nov 2022 12:00 13:00 ENG

Sarah-Louise Japhetson Mortensen (Aarhus University)

Note: The event will take place in Jekteviksbakken 31. It is also possible to join through Zoom. Lunch will be served. You can register here (not compulsory nor binding).

Since 2015, a political turn towards temporary protection and return of refugees has taken place in Denmark.

Shorter residence permits and an emphasis on temporary stays have highlighted the deportability of all refugees residing in Denmark. Due to security assessments of Damascus (2019) and Rural Damascus (2021), Syrian refugees who hold subsidiary protection statuses have been a particular target group for the Danish Immigration Service’s re-examination of protection needs.

In this seminar, Sarah-Louise Japhetson Mortensen will present findings from her 12 months ethnographic fieldwork among Syrian refugees in Denmark.

Her research highlights how the temporality of protection over time has imprinted itself on Syrian Refugees bodies and minds – manifested as nightmares, stress, depression, tremor, anxiety and sleeplessness – which she identifies as bodily and mental exhaustion. She draws on the concept “Politics of exhaustion” to discuss how exhaustion can be understood as an effect of technologies of governance and as lived experiences and resistance during her interlocutors’ daily navigations between protection needs.


About the speaker

Sarah-Louise Japhetson Mortensen is a visiting PhD scholar at the Center for Women and Gender Studies (SKOK) at UiB. She is affiliated with the department of anthropology at Aarhus University in Denmark. Her PhD project is a part of the international and interdisciplinary research project “Temporary protection as a durable solution? The 'return turn' in asylum policies in Europe” (TEMPRO).


The event is organised in collaboration with IMER Bergen


Photo: Sarah-Louise Japhetson Mortensen