In this chapter, I draw on my participatory observation conducted as an outsider with two groups of about 10 male asylum seekers each to explain why many asylum seekers in Hong Kong live in spaces that can be defined as ‘slums’. An argument is made that asylum seekers’ choice of dwelling is a consequence of their socio-legal incarceration or confinement within a condition akin to detention, which limits and structures their identity and agency. Given structural factors that produce asylum seeker estrangement and marginalization, identity-based claims are made upon which asylum seekers act to ensure their survival. In so doing, however, they are responsible for shaping the exclusionary context that fashions their struggle to survive and gain a measure of control over their lives. A process of entrapment is thereby evinced, one in which asylum seekers are ensnared for political and economic reasons.
|Title of host publication||Entrapping asylum seekers|
|Subtitle of host publication||Social, legal and economic precariousness|
|Editors||Francesco Vecchio, Alison Gerard|
|Place of Publication||United Kingdom|
|Number of pages||24|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
|Name||Transnational crime, crime control and security|
Vecchio, F. (2018). Asylum seeker materiality and identity-building: Shapers of socio-legal incarceration. In F. Vecchio, & A. Gerard (Eds.), Entrapping asylum seekers : Social, legal and economic precariousness (1st ed., pp. 247-270). (Transnational crime, crime control and security). Palgrave Macmillan.