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The Politics of Labeling Refugee Men as “Vulnerable”

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Lewis TurnerORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Oxford University Press, 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Critiques of humanitarian work with refugees have increasingly called for refugee men’s “vulnerabilities” to be recognized. The deployment of “vulnerability” reflects the term’s centrality within contemporary humanitarianism, and its rapidly expanding use in feminist analysis. This article argues that calls to see refugee men as “vulnerable” fail to critique, and even seek to expand, “vulnerability” as a mechanism of humanitarian governance. This approach is likely to lead to more humanitarian control over, and racialized violence toward, refugee men themselves. In an era of calls for decolonial approaches, more radical critiques are required, which center the concepts, understandings, and resistance of refugees.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Turner L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society

Year: 2021

Volume: 28

Issue: 1

Pages: 1-23

Online publication date: 20/09/2019

Acceptance date: 16/07/2019

Date deposited: 03/08/2020

ISSN (print): 1072-4745

ISSN (electronic): 1468-2893

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/sp/jxz033



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