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date: 11 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Throughout the past forty years various leaders from both major political parties in Australia have categorized the arrival by boat of people seeking asylum as a “crisis” and the people themselves as “illegal.” This is despite Australia being a signatory to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and receiving relatively few people who seek asylum compared with many other countries. Punitive government policies and processes have further reinforced these representations, such that “crisis” and “illegal” can now be understood as both categories of analysis and practice. The repeated use of such categories may be helping to produce and reproduce prejudice and racism and obscure the needs and experiences of people seeking asylum.

Keywords: asylum seekers, refugees, Australia, category of practice, category of analysis

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