The regressive power of labels of vulnerability affecting disabled asylum seekers in the UK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There has been some progress in the United Kingdom regarding official recognition of the existence and needs of disabled asylum seekers and refugees. However, references are commonly accompanied by euphemistic labels, particularly of ‘vulnerability’. This should be understood in the context of systematic reduction of services and support available to the wider population of asylum seekers and disabled people in the United Kingdom. I argue that these processes reinforce each other and that both undermine a rights-based approach. Focusing on recent asylum and immigration policies, I explore how labels of ‘vulnerability’ obscure systemic oppression and distract from the rights and achievements of disabled people. The regressive elements of vulnerability discourse are presented as if better than nothing. Such discourse risks reinforcing hegemonic acceptance of distinctions of human worth, with detrimental impact for migrants and citizens alike.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability & Society
Early online date27 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jul 2019

Keywords

  • disability
  • asylum seekers
  • Vulnerability

Cite this

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title = "The regressive power of labels of vulnerability affecting disabled asylum seekers in the UK",
abstract = "There has been some progress in the United Kingdom regarding official recognition of the existence and needs of disabled asylum seekers and refugees. However, references are commonly accompanied by euphemistic labels, particularly of ‘vulnerability’. This should be understood in the context of systematic reduction of services and support available to the wider population of asylum seekers and disabled people in the United Kingdom. I argue that these processes reinforce each other and that both undermine a rights-based approach. Focusing on recent asylum and immigration policies, I explore how labels of ‘vulnerability’ obscure systemic oppression and distract from the rights and achievements of disabled people. The regressive elements of vulnerability discourse are presented as if better than nothing. Such discourse risks reinforcing hegemonic acceptance of distinctions of human worth, with detrimental impact for migrants and citizens alike.",
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AB - There has been some progress in the United Kingdom regarding official recognition of the existence and needs of disabled asylum seekers and refugees. However, references are commonly accompanied by euphemistic labels, particularly of ‘vulnerability’. This should be understood in the context of systematic reduction of services and support available to the wider population of asylum seekers and disabled people in the United Kingdom. I argue that these processes reinforce each other and that both undermine a rights-based approach. Focusing on recent asylum and immigration policies, I explore how labels of ‘vulnerability’ obscure systemic oppression and distract from the rights and achievements of disabled people. The regressive elements of vulnerability discourse are presented as if better than nothing. Such discourse risks reinforcing hegemonic acceptance of distinctions of human worth, with detrimental impact for migrants and citizens alike.

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