Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.
Skip to main content

In this lecture Professor Didier Fassin will explore how, sixty years after the signature of the Geneva Convention, asylum is progressively being emptied of its original signification in Western Europe and North America.

First, the increasing assimilation of asylum and immigration serves as a justification for the suspicion towards refugees, the paradox being that it is in the name of an idealized view of asylum that refugees are denied its protection. As their testimony is systematically disqualified, more documents, medical certificates, psychological evidence, and material proof are required, thus confirming the delegitimization of their voice.

Second, the progressive recognition of intimate violence, including sexual orientation and genital mutilations, as rationales for asylum obscures the dramatic discrediting of traditional political persecution, systematically contested by protection officers and judges. This shift from the public to the private spheres is all the more effective in that it is presented as opposing a self-valourizing enlightened vision of the world to the depreciated archaic prejudices against homosexuals and girls.

Based on a decade of empirical research on asylum, mostly in France, the lecture will discuss and confront the abstract truth of asylum and the concrete truth of refugees, thus questioning the ethical foundations of contemporary societies.

About the speaker

Professor Fassin is the James D Wolfensohn Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton and Director of Studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

RELATED CONTENT

News & Media: Listen to a podcast of the event

Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture is named in honour of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. It is held each year in Michaelmas term.

Past Annual Harrell-Bond Lectures

Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held in Trinity term. It is named after Professor Elizabeth Colson, a renowned anthropologist.

Past Annual Elizabeth Colson Lectures

Public Seminar Series

Each term the RSC holds a series of public seminars, held on Wednesday evenings at Queen Elizabeth House. Click here for details of forthcoming seminars.

Forthcoming seminars

Connect with us

To keep up to date with our events and activities, sign up for email alerts from the RSC and Forced Migration Review, and connect with us on social media.

Sign up here

Forthcoming events

Rohingya refugee crisis: examination of the causes of persecution

Tuesday, 03 March 2020, 1pm to 2pm @ Seminar Room 1 Oxford Department of International Development 3 Mansfield Road OX1 3TB

SEMINAR CANCELLED | Bordering

Wednesday, 04 March 2020, 5pm to 6.30pm @ Seminar Room 1, Oxford Department of International Development, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

Exiled: The Plight of Rohingya Refugees | Screening and Discussion with the Director

Friday, 06 March 2020, 5pm to 7pm @ Meeting Room A, Oxford Department of International Development, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB

SEMINAR CANCELLED | Access to SGBV protection services for Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

Wednesday, 11 March 2020, 5pm to 6.30pm @ Seminar Room 1, Oxford Department of International Development, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB