‘Refugee’ in the making: movements and practices in and between Nigeria and the Netherlands

Yining Chen

- completed -

This project stems from Yining Chen’s long-term engagement as a volunteer with the Asiel (asylum) Team at a rainbow NGO’s local branch in the northern Netherlands, a team mainly working to provide social platforms for migrants with experience in sexuality-based asylum claims. Emerging from visceral feelings and experiences of sharing food, shelter, displacement and relocation, it particularly examines and traces several tracks of movements and practices that stretch across Nigeria and the Netherlands over a span of more than 20 years.

From slum, port, oil city, Egbesu’s War-God empowerment and protection, to underground renting, illicit work, ties with the Pentecostal church and institution-provided venues for LGBT activities, those tracks of movements and practices hinge on spaces, in which relationships and social worlds emerge and are cultivated vis-à-vis various modes of intensified and structured state control. The 1990s Niger Delta oil conflict, indigenous religious beliefs, the Dutch shadow economy, and an informational empire are thus threaded together. Specific political and legal subjects, such as “asylum seeker”, “1F-er”, and “terrorist”, and events, such as “war”, “imprisonment”, and  “deportation”, are in the (non-)making, which in turn imparts dimensions, vectors, and ethical weight to the tracks of movements and practices. Elaborating on the (de)formation of social worlds and relationships along the tracks that fall in and out of the state’s (asylum) registration, regulation and recognition, this project aims to shine more light on the prolonged and repetitive colonial and capitalist extraction and accumulation occurring in the modern world. 

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