Abstract

This paper introduces a theoretical framework to fill a gap in our understanding of refugeeness. Based on material gathered from a series of interviews undertaken as part of an exploratory study completed in Montreal, Canada, refugee claimant subjectivity is empirically explored by examining the social construction of refugees' subjectivity in three major spheres of life: work, family and state. Within this theoretical perspective two linked research questions are addressed, namely: (1) What is the impact of refugee policy on refugee claimants? and (2) How is their subjectivity altered by the refugee determination process? The objective is to understand the impact of a particular discourse on an individual's subjectivity in relation to that discourse. Refugee claimant subjectivity is analysed through those conscious thoughts and emotions expressed by subjects, their way of understanding their refugee claimant subjectivity and their social world, in large part defined by Canadian refugee policy.

Received June 2002. Revised January 2004.