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    Evidence and absence in the archives: A study of the Irish Refugee Appeals Tribunal Archive to assess the state practice of determining asylum in Ireland

    Brown, Sasha (2021) Evidence and absence in the archives: A study of the Irish Refugee Appeals Tribunal Archive to assess the state practice of determining asylum in Ireland. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Creating borders and borderlands is a key role of the contemporary state (Mountz, 2010). This dissertation investigates the Irish state agencies that are part of the border complex and the ways that borders are enforced for those seeking asylum in Ireland. Specifically, this dissertation examines the Appeals Tribunal Archive (ATA), a digital archive of refugee and international protection appeal decisions granting or refusing asylum and refugee status to asylum seekers in Ireland. This archive contains rituals and practices of the Irish state as the Tribunal determines asylum and ‘processes’ asylum seekers through national borders. This project uses innovative mixed methods including digital qualitative analysis, geocomputation, web-scraping, knowledge exchange forums with those affected by the state asylum process and archival ethnography to carry out a ‘sustained engagement’ (Stoler, 2009) with the archive. This investigation, like similar investigations of state archives, reveals a landscape of clarity and shadows: some practices become clear, some remain hidden. For asylum seekers, the asylum process is murky, chaotic and disorienting. For the researcher, the asylum process also appears shadowed; rituals and practices become evident from investigating the archive’s form and content. This project works towards investigating the practices, knowledges, assumptions and ‘common sense’ of the Appeals Tribunal through the archive. In this dissertation I argue that acts and practices of bordering are central aspects of statecraft, enacted and performed by state agencies and state agents. This research into state practice opens space to question the judgements documented in the archive through, among other things, the deep analysis of decisions and the creation of publicly accessible records and reports of Tribunal practice. The evidence presented in this dissertation shows the double-sided nature of asylum determination in Ireland. Outwardly, asylum agencies work to maintain compliance with state and international asylum laws; inwardly, asylum agencies are restricting borders and movement in Ireland and are restricting the rights of asylum seekers and their claims to protections under law.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Evidence; absence; archives; Irish Refugee Appeals Tribunal Archive; state practice; asylum in Ireland;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Item ID: 17916
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2023 11:40
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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