Radical Hope in Refugee Political Agency: Reaching Beyond Linear Temporalities

Kirsi Pauliina Kallio, Isabel Meier, Jouni Häkli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Political agency of refugees and asylum seekers is usually recognised as different forms of activism, focusing on rights claiming or protesting on inferior living conditions. While these activities are vitally important in the struggle over refugee rights and policies, they are not the only ways in which asylum seekers and refugees act politically. Perhaps paradoxically, the publicly visible activities may hide from the view other forms of effective and critical agency. Based on research with asylum seekers in precarious situations, this paper discusses their subtle forms of agency seldom identified as political – least by those enacting them. Many asylum seekers and refugees have little faith in exerting change though public protest and explicitly dissociate themselves from politics. With focus on mundane critical attitudes and activities, this paper suggests that thin political possibilities open through agency motivated by ‘radical hope’. The radically hopeful agencies in hopeless asylum situations, and their political dimensions, are identified through a non-linear understanding of temporality that challenges the received notion of refugeeness as generated in the past, struggled for in the present, and orienting towards a desired-for future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4006-4022
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number17
Early online date18 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Radical Hope in Refugee Political Agency: Reaching Beyond Linear Temporalities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this