War, Asylum, and Everyday Life: The Experiences of Chechen and Ingush Refugees in Poland

Sipos, Michal. 2016. War, Asylum, and Everyday Life: The Experiences of Chechen and Ingush Refugees in Poland. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This doctoral thesis builds upon long-term and predominantly single-sited ethnographic fieldwork conducted with Chechen and Ingush asylum seekers in one particular asylum centre in Eastern Poland between 2007 and 2009. It is concerned with some of the processes that constitute what some scholars have regarded as the unsettled and uprooted identity of refugees. Acknowledging that the thing that all immigrants from the North Caucasus had in common was the fact that their lives had been dramatically affected by the post-socialist Russo-Chechen wars, I consider war and displacement to be extreme disruptive events. Focusing on refugees’ voices, their narratives, life stories, utterances, paintings, but also silences, I examine the variety of ways in which these subjects attempted to make sense of a world, which had been radically changed by violence. Besides, the thesis does not overlook that refugee identity is also produced through the historically specific institutional practices and discourses of those who take part in political and humanitarian intervention. After delineating the way in which the notion ‘refugee’ was constructed in post-socialist Poland, I describe this political-legal construction as it existed and reproduced itself in the context of everyday life. Last, I consider the way in which these definitions became part of refugees’ lived experiences. Describing the people I encountered in the field—mostly refugees but also low-level bureaucrats, social workers, teachers, or local inhabitants of the surrounding urban and economically deprived neighbourhood—this doctoral thesis explores how violent disruption becomes integrated in the everyday life of victims of war and displacement within a specific political, socio-economic and historical setting.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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Violence, Loss, Trauma, Refugee Experience, Chechens, Central-Eastern Europe

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



31 January 2016

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Date Deposited:

05 Feb 2016 12:43

Last Modified:

31 Jan 2024 02:26



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