Asylum-Seeking Journeys in Asia: Refugees in Hong Kong and Bangkok, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Asylum-Seeking Journeys in Asia

Refugees in Hong Kong and Bangkok, 1st Edition

By Terence Chun Tat Shum


200 pages | 16 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138551923
pub: 2019-03-11
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This book looks in detail at the journeys to asylum in Asia which are largely neglected in the media and academic analyses, despite Asia becoming the most essential region for asylum, receiving refugees from both within and outside of the continent. 

Treating asylum-seeking journeys as a transnational space, the author investigates the actual asylum-seeking process from homelands to either Hong Kong or Bangkok. Today, refugees undertake multiple, long, and life-threatening journeys before arriving in receiving societies; from the moment of arrival in Hong Kong or Bangkok, they face a wide array of challenges. An ethnographic account of how refugees navigate and negotiate their journeys to asylum, this book highlights the social, political, economic, and psychological processes involved in "becoming" and "being" a refugee. This encompasses not only the physical movement of refugees, but also their embodiments and emotional encounters. The author offers a micro-level analysis of asylum-seeking journeys - from the aspiration to flee, to migration preparation, to border crossing, to homemaking in prolonged displacement. All of these stages reveal how these journeys create ever-evolving realities with new constellations of options and constraints. By focusing on refugees’ understanding, perception of, and interaction with the people, environments, and situations around them, this book illustrates how refugee life plans are shaped and reshaped by the embodied experience of their journeys, and how their ideas of home have changed over time.

Asylum-seeking Journeys in Asia will appeal to scholars and students in the fields of migration and refugee studies, diaspora studies, globalisation, and Asian studies. It will also be of interest to policymakers and humanitarian workers involved in providing services and assistance to the global refugee population.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations


1. Introduction

2. Asylum-seeking in Hong Kong and Bangkok: a historical perspective

3. Constructing journeys: the making of exits and entrances

4. Governing refugees in Hong Kong and Bangkok: identity, exclusion and marginalisation

5. Prolonged displacement and negotiating ‘home’ in Hong Kong

6. Prolonged displacement and negotiating ‘home’ in Bangkok

7. Conclusion: a journey without destination?



About the Author

Terence Chun Tat Shum is Research Assistant Professor in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at The Open University of Hong Kong. His areas of research cover migration and refugee studies, globalisation and multiculturalism, and African diaspora and culture.

About the Series

Routledge Series on Asian Migration

Asia is now the most essential and dynamic region receiving and sending both long-term and short-term migrants, undertaking migration in all routes and in various forms. This series addresses various imminent trends of international migration in Asia, and the development of various Asian diaspora communities around the world. It brings together interests and efforts on migration studies focusing on the plights of Asian migrants within and beyond Asia, as well as all levels of governance and management of migration.

Books in the series broaden the discussions of the relationship between migration and globalization, transnationalism, development, governance, inter-cultural studies, and identity and diaspora. They address specific social and cultural dynamics – such as gender relations, population, family and marriage patterns, new class formation, and the transformation of cultural values – that have been brought by Asian migration. This series highlights Asia as a region with the most active migration movements, which should be one of the most essential areas bringing critical social changes within and across national boundaries.

The series welcomes submissions from prominent scholars in Asian Migration studies as well as emerging scholars with empirically rich and updated research.


Editorial Board

Steven J. Gold, Michigan State University, US

David Haines, George Mason University, US

Nana Oishi, University of Melbourne, Australia

Willem van Schendel, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Biao Xiang, University of Oxford, ,UK

Pei-Chia Lan, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

Brenda Yeoh, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies