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Exploring the vulnerability of asylum seekers in the UK

Stewart, Emma (2005) Exploring the vulnerability of asylum seekers in the UK. Population, Space and Place, 11 (6). pp. 499-512. ISSN 1544-8444

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Abstract

Asylum seekers living in the UK are identified as a vulnerable group in contemporary society. Empirical results from in-depth interviews are drawn upon in the paper to uncover the everyday experiences of asylum seekers. This material is then employed to engage critically with the concept of vulnerability. Three main themes specifically structure the discussion: the interstitial position of asylum seekers in the nation state is explored; the spatial manifestations of vulnerability are identified; and the responses of individuals to their vulnerable situation are highlighted. By drawing upon the specific example of this illustrative group, important theoretical implications for the understanding of vulnerability are proposed. These include the importance of time-space relative to vulnerable populations and the potential cumulative effect of vulnerability. Finally, questions are raised as to how researchers investigate and represent vulnerable populations.