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Becoming through the Mundane: Asylum Seekers and the Making of Selves in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Becoming through the Mundane: Asylum Seekers and the Making of Selves in Port Moresby, Papua New... Becoming through the Mundane: Asylum Seekers and the Making of Selves in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea Paige West In “We Refugees,” Hannah Arendt argued that refugees want to be seen as, and to feel like, anything other than refugees; they are seeking new kinds of selves to be in the wake of their suffering, and they wish to become those selves through practices that are not tied to either their suffering or their status as refugees (2007). In this essay, based on six years of ongoing ethnographic work with people connected to the Regional Resettlement Arrangement (rra) between Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG), I take up the question of what kinds of places and practices afford some of the asylum seekers affected by the rra the space to make selves that are not configured—by either themselves or others—through their legal status, their detention, or their suffering. Arendt famously asserted that when given refuge in a new nation-state, refugees become new kinds of selves through attempts at self-assimilation through practices like learning languages and becoming loud, optimistic patriots (2007, 271). Yet the men detained by Australia in PNG, most of whom have spent the bulk of the past http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Contemporary Pacific University of Hawai'I Press

Becoming through the Mundane: Asylum Seekers and the Making of Selves in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

The Contemporary Pacific , Volume 32 (2) – Dec 11, 2020

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9464

Abstract

Becoming through the Mundane: Asylum Seekers and the Making of Selves in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea Paige West In “We Refugees,” Hannah Arendt argued that refugees want to be seen as, and to feel like, anything other than refugees; they are seeking new kinds of selves to be in the wake of their suffering, and they wish to become those selves through practices that are not tied to either their suffering or their status as refugees (2007). In this essay, based on six years of ongoing ethnographic work with people connected to the Regional Resettlement Arrangement (rra) between Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG), I take up the question of what kinds of places and practices afford some of the asylum seekers affected by the rra the space to make selves that are not configured—by either themselves or others—through their legal status, their detention, or their suffering. Arendt famously asserted that when given refuge in a new nation-state, refugees become new kinds of selves through attempts at self-assimilation through practices like learning languages and becoming loud, optimistic patriots (2007, 271). Yet the men detained by Australia in PNG, most of whom have spent the bulk of the past

Journal

The Contemporary PacificUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Dec 11, 2020

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