Urban refugees in a ‘non-Convention’ city
1 - 16 p.
urban refugees, assemblage, becoming, distributed agency, Bangkok
This paper brings together literature from urban and refugee studies, aiming to contribute new theoretical insights about agency in the space of an urban assemblage to the study of the mundane mobility of refugees in Bangkok, Thailand. Drawing on empirical material gathered through qualitative interviews and ethnographic methodologies, the paper offers new insights into the daily struggles of refugees in a city located in a country that is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention. In particular, the Deleuzo-Guattarian concept of becoming as a transformative capacity, as well as the notion of distributed agency, are highlighted to raise awareness to the ambivalent, complex and ambiguous ways in which agency is expressed by urban refugees in a non-Convention city. The paper aspires to offer both new theoretical perspectives as well as novel empirical data to consider the agency of refugees who are criminalised in their host country due to a lack of legal recognition, contending that these particular urban conditions are precisely the reason for their situated, contingent and ambivalent agency.