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Open Access ‘Since I am here, I scream’

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The position of female rejected asylum seekers in the Netherlands reveals how European citizenship is built on gendered notions of belonging to a national body, with its annexed discourses on migrant exclusion and asylum that set the conditions for rejected asylum seekers. This paper examines the experiences of female rejected asylum seekers who rely on NGOs, municipal homeless shelters, and informal networks for their basic needs in the Netherlands; it considers how they negotiate their everyday lives, and how the state’s exclusionary policies and the workings of NGOs affect them. This paper argues that, in order to chart the complexity of their agency, it is necessary to collapse the division between ‘victimhood’ and ‘agency’ as mutually exclusive subject positions. This requires an intersectional analysis of their experiences, as multiple axes of oppression simultaneously interact in defining which subject positions are available for female rejected asylum seekers and what their material options are.
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Keywords: NGO; agency; gender; intersectionality; rejected asylum seekers; undocumented migration

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Mari Pitkänen (1984) has an MA in Gender and Ethnicity from Utrecht University and a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Turku, Finland. She has worked to build social activity projects for undocumented migrants and participated in supporting self-organisations of rejected asylum seekers.

Publication date: August 1, 2014

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  • Het Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies is het forum voor de wetenschappelijke problematisering van sekse in relatie tot andere vormen van discriminatie en uitsluiting zoals etniciteit, seksualiteit, klasse of leeftijd. Er worden artikelen in gepubliceerd over gendervraagstukken vanuit alle relevante disciplines die een wetenschappelijke bijdrage leveren aan debatten over gender en intersectionaliteit in Nederland en Vlaanderen. Het tijdschrift is een interdisciplinair medium op het kruispunt van maatschappij-, cultuur-, geestes-, gezondheids- en natuurwetenschappen. Het verschijnt vier keer per jaar en biedt wetenschappelijke artikelen en daarnaast ook interviews, boekrecensies, discussiedossiers en opiniërende artikelen in het Nederlands en Engels. Artikelen worden dubbelblind beoordeeld door externe deskundigen.

    The Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies (Journal of Gender Studies) is a Dutch language forum for the scientific problematisation of gender in relation to ethnicity, sexuality, class, and age. The journal aims to contribute to debates about gender and diversity in the Netherlands and Flanders. The journal is an interdisciplinary medium operating at the intersection of society, culture, the humanities, health and science. The editorial staff is open to articles about gender issues from different disciplines, and also accepts English articles. As well as publishing articles, the journal includes essays, columns (short topical and polemical articles), interviews, reviews, summaries of dissertations and conference reports. Articles are subjected to a double blind peer review process.
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