Asylum Seekers, Sovereignty, and the Senses of the International: A Politico-corporeal Struggle, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Asylum Seekers, Sovereignty, and the Senses of the International

A Politico-corporeal Struggle, 1st Edition

By Eeva Puumala


200 pages

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Hardback: 9781138944886
pub: 2016-11-28
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The confrontation between asylum seeking and sovereignty has mainly focused on ways in which the movement and possibilities of refugees and migrants are limited. In this volume, instead of departing from the practices of governance and surveillance, Puumala begins with the moving body, its engagements and relations and examines different ways of seeing and sensing the struggle between asylum seekers and sovereign practices.

Puumala asserts that our political imagination is being challenged in its ways of ordering, practicing and thinking about the international and those relations we call international. The issues relating to asylum seekers are one example of the deficiencies in the spatiotemporal logic upon which these relations were originally built; words such as ‘nation’, ‘people’, ‘sovereignty’ and ‘community’ are challenged. Conventional methods of governing, regulating and administering increased forms of mobility are in trouble, which gives rise to the invention of new technologies at borders and introduces regulations and spaces of exception.

Based on extensive fieldwork that sheds light on a range of Europe-wide practices in the field of asylum and migration policies, this book will be of interest to scholars of IR theory, biopolitics and migration, as well as critical security more broadly.

Table of Contents


Event 1: Ethnographic experiences

Chapter 1: Exposure

Event 2: Political lives, professional ethics, and sovereign practices

Chapter 2: Sovereignty, mobility, the body

Event 3: Asylum, a monologist narrative of the state?

Chapter 3: A struggle over the body

Event 4: Passages and dislocations

Chapter 4: Moving (in) space

Event 5: The feltness of sovereignty

Chapter 5: Sensuous politics, political sentiments

Collage of a politico-corporeal struggle



About the Author

Eeva Puumala is a post-doctoral researcher at the Tampere Peace Research Institute in the University of Tampere, Finland

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

  • Jenny Edkins ( and
  • Nick Vaughan-Williams (

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Civics & Citizenship
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / General