The facticity of sexuality is a key driver of the asylum procedure in “LGBT” cases, where non-heterosexual identities can be grounds for gaining” refugee status.” The procedure becomes a test of sexual veracity by means of a truthful performance. This performance is primarily discursive, but it is also bodily in terms of the way bodily comportment is considered indicative of a “true story.” Underlying this process is a conception of sexuality as a fixed, invisible but ever present identity. Sexuality, we argue, gets configured in ways akin to what is commonly called an “infrastructure.” The veracity and facticity of accounts of, and for, this ‘infrastructure of selfhood’ can only be ascertained in live encounters during the asylum procedure. This article ethnographically highlights how such a particular facticity is composed in the Dutch asylum procedures. Building on Judith Butler’s work on narrative accounts of the self, we show how the state intervenes in crucial ways in asserting the authority to assign truth to such a narrative account.

, , , , ,,
Theory and Society
Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS)

Hertoghs, M., & Schinkel, W. (2018). The state’s sexual desires: the performance of sexuality in the Dutch asylum procedure. Theory and Society. doi:10.1007/s11186-018-9330-x