Language, asylum and identity in the Belgian reception network. The on/off-line discourses of being/beingmade and being from here/not being from here

Start - End 
2023 - 2026 (ongoing)
Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication
Research Focus 



By exploring the ways in which ´being’ and ´being made´ are legitimized by the state and produced through the experiences in the on/off line nexus of those seeking asylum in Belgium, this project aims to conduct an ethnographic study of how language operates across this nexus in reception centres, the role/impact of language on the processes of subjectification and the surfacing of resistance to these processes (Tazzioli, 2017). In doing so, the project intends to conceptualise language across time and space and show how the nation state, its hegemonic forms and its discourses surrounding asylum seeking are inaccurate and hostile.

The project will focus on cultural citizenship and how consent and control are produced through various processes of ‘being made’ (Ong, 1996). Citizenship, consent and control may be achieved via `technologies of citizenship´ (Ong, 1996; Bourdieu, 1991), such as control and administration, which may be viewed as paradigms of communication, and which are embedded within discussions of citizenship (Paz, 2019). It is these processes and technologies of integration that, paradoxically, deterritorialise the bios of asylum seekers yet replicate external borders internally through language (Balibar, 2010).

In addition to the lens of cultural citizenship and its processes, the notion of ´language ideologies´ (Milani, 2008; Blommaert, 2005) will be deployed to expose both institutional ideologies and their engagement and resistance by social actors. Within discourse, these ideologies, as well as power, may be found, and by scrutinizing ideologies and their hidden agendas (Cameron, 2001), their effect and reproduction may be challenged.




Phd Student(s)