Geopolitics of Disability and the Ablenationalism of Refuge

Jenna M. Loyd, Anna J. Secor, Patricia Ehrkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Although it has rarely been addressed as such, the regulation of disability within migration governance is a geopolitical issue. This article examines how refugee resettlement intersects with ablenationalism, an ideology that treats disability as exceptional, thereby shoring up the exclusionary terms of citizenship. Drawing on findings from our multi-sited study (2016–2019) of the resettlement of Iraqis to the US, we show how the fantasy of the ‘disability con’ and fantasy of the ‘bogus refugee’ feature overlapping logics. Asylum officers routinely question asylum seekers’ narrations, pointing to holes in logic, inconsistencies, embellishment, and perceptions of scripted stories as reasons for denying asylum claims. Our study shows how these moments of suspicion can double-up or intertwine for refugees seeking disability exceptions in the naturalisation process. We argue that the disenfranchisement of those who seek naturalisation on these grounds reproduces ablenationalist exclusion and shores up a geopolitics of impairment and militarised refuge.

Original languageEnglish
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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