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Kula, Lucia (2022) Borders, Law, and Violence: Irregular Migration in Angola. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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On borders, law and violence, this thesis explores the intersecting lives of irregular migrants in Angola. With a particular focus on irregular migration and forced displacement between the northern borders of Angola and The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), I interrogate how identity, belonging, and community are shaped through the epistemology of legal scholarship. Through an interrogation of feminist jurisprudence and TWAIL scholarship, I examine how the understanding of legal language weaves our perception of (il)legality and (im)mobility, and how conflict and violence affects displaced bodies through the multidimensional continuum of forced migration. A non-linear transition between space and time is used through an autoetnographic recounting of my family’s lived experience through legal and bordered spaces, and temporal spaces of belonging. A collection of life stories from the field are levelled within the discretion of legal practices and legislation to mitigate the exclusion of non-citizens in spaces of conditional legal statuses. Through borders, through space, and time, the complexities of the governance around borders as institutions where the limitations of the law materialise to change the dynamism of the bordering processes which categorises the identities of irregular migrants is challenged. The thesis additionally questions exclusion of specialised categories of protection in current refugee legal framework and facilitates an extension of this framework to consider strategies around legal status, protection and mobility in the way that it enforces paradoxical experience of the irregular migrant’s lived experience. To understand why women’s movement in forced migration settings should challenge the permanence of institutionalised insecurity where the irregular migrant is “othered”, criminalised and excluded from community participation, even within the context of internal borders and identity politics which do not take into account the intersectional structures of identities at the border. Who crosses and has presence at the border is then used a premise to interrogate what the border represents through time and space, in conflict and post-conflict settings.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Gina Heathcote
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2022 09:18

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