In_Visibilizing Stress: Refugee Tales as a Counter-Apparatus
Keywords:Refugee Tales project, in_visibilisation of stress, apparatus, life writing
This article claims that the UK immigration complex is best understood as an apparatus (in the sense of Foucault and Agamben) that uses stress as a tool. It further argues that the Refugee Tales project acts as a counter-apparatus, and that the project’s life writing branch makes visible the many roles which stress plays in the context of immigration legislation. Stress researchers in the humanities maintain that poverty is one of the greatest stressors (Baker), that cutting people off from their material and mental resources is the most effective way to produce stress (Hobfoll), and that disturbing established rhythms of stress and relaxation can lead to ‘zombification’ (Korovkin/Stephenson). Selected pieces of life writing by women and men in the four volumes of Refugee Tales published to date, shed light on how stress manifests for people caught up in the immigration apparatus. They do so by demonstrating how narrative can i) be a source of stress, ii) trigger stress originally caused by something else, iii) represent stress, iv) perform, v) communicate, but also vi) alleviate it. By visibilizing what the immigration apparatus keeps from view, the analysed pieces of life writing contribute to Refugee Tales’ overall goal of putting an end to indefinite detention in the UK.
Copyright (c) 2023 Sylvia Mieszkowski
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.