Reading the Stranger of Asylum Law: Legacies of Communication and Ethics
journal contributionposted on 12.07.2013, 13:38 by Toni Ann Marie Johnson
In this paper I argue that the way in which the UK asylum system currently functions, fails to legally and discursively acknowledge the UK's culpability and contribution to contexts that generate refugees via, for example, legacies of colonialism and engagement in neoliberal economic practices. I claim that these legacies fundamentally and detrimentally impact on, and delineate the relationship between, asylum claimant and Immigration Judge. Responding to these legacies and the concurrent interpersonal impact, I draw on the work of Iris Marion Young and Emmanuel Levinas in order to reframe the relationships between the interlocutors. Using an ethical framework I focus on the benefits that engaging with, and bearing responsibility for the other may have on the provision of justice for refugees. I rely in part on Iris Marion Young's understanding of a communicative ethics based on 'asymmetrical reciprocity', which is indebted to Levinas' conceptualisation of the 'other' - the other as unknowable, and irreducible, and to whom we are obligated - in order to address the place of an ethics of responsibility.