• Margaret Pannett

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis explores how people struggle to make livable lives in the conditions of existence of seeking asylum in the UK. The study is based on ethnographic research, conversations and participant observation, with people seeking asylum in Manchester. Grounding the research in their narratives is a contribution to decolonizing knowledge and doing justice to the sentience of people who are marginalized and pathologized. The narratives are brought into dialogue with feminist and decolonial philosophy and political theory, and with empirical studies of "refugeedom" from a number of disciplines, to produce a new field of connection from which to map the terrain involved in theorizing livability. While the whole thesis seeks to respond to the narratives, there is a detailed focus on three dimensions which participants emphasize as crucial to livability: settlement in Manchester; the prohibition of employment; the asylum application procedures. These are moments in which livability is claimed as both ethics and practice. From the perspective of the narratives and the ethics which permeate them, livability opens up into questions of recognition, social justice and care. People claim commonality: recognition as human, equality and inclusion in social goods, and care in public settings. These are the practical and ethical supports of livability. The narratives point also towards critiques of "refugeedom", the policies and practices that form the discursive and material conditions within which people seeking asylum attempt to make livable lives.
Date of Award1 Aug 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorEncarnacion Gutierrez-Rodriguez (Supervisor) & Bridget Byrne (Supervisor)


  • Ethics From Below.
  • Human Flourishing.
  • Livability.
  • Feminist Research Methods.
  • Human Sentience.
  • Recognition.
  • Asylum Seekers.
  • Social Justice.
  • Care.

Cite this