Publication details for Professor Lorna Fox O'MahonyFox O’Mahony, Lorna. & Sweeney, James. (2010). The Exclusion of (Failed) Asylum Seekers from Housing and Home: Towards an Oppositional Discourse. Journal of Law and Society 37(2): 285-314.
- Publication type: Journal papers: academic
- ISSN/ISBN: 0263-323X, 1467-6478
- DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6478.2010.00505.x
- Keywords: Asylum seekers, failed asylum seekers, housing and home, oppositional discourse
- View online: Online version
- Durham research online: DRO record
Author(s) from Durham
'Housing'– the practical provision of a roof over one's head – is experienced by users as 'home'– broadly described as housing plus the experiential elements of dwelling. Conversely, being without housing, commonly described as 'homelessness', is experienced not only as an absence of shelter but in the philosophical sense of 'ontological homelessness' and alienation from the conditions for well-being. For asylum seekers, these experiences are deliberately and explicitly excluded from official law and policy discourses. This article demonstrates how law and policy is propelled by an 'official discourse' based on the denial of housing and the avoidance of 'home' attachments, which effectively keeps the asylum seeker in a state of ontological homelessness and alienation. We reflect on this exclusion and consider how a new 'oppositional discourse' of housing and home – taking these considerations into account – might impact on the balancing exercise inherent to laws and policies concerning asylum seekers.