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In recent scholarly literature, refugees have proliferated: they are the “political figures par excellence” and “border concepts”; they are understood through their infrastructures, both camps and laws; and they are approached as suffering subjects. But Fassin, Wilhelm-Solomon, and Segatti have a different approach: they understand asylum—or as’lem, the term used by asylum seekers in South Africa—as a form of life.


This work is a response to (and was published as part of) this article: Fassin, D., Wilhelm-Solomon, M., & Segatti, A. (2017). Asylum as a form of life: The politics and experience of indeterminacy in South Africa. Current Anthropology, 58(2), 160-187.

This work was originally published in Current Anthropology, available at

This work is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).



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