Truth Ordeal

Didier Fassin

in Humanitarian Reason

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780520271166
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950481 | DOI:
Truth Ordeal

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For some twenty-five years, the tension between a high number of applications for asylum and a low rate of granting refugee status in France was resolved ideologically by increasingly discrediting the word of asylum seekers. The asylum seekers' accounts were no longer sufficient to confirm the truth of the alleged persecution and instead a medical or psychological certificate increasingly became a crucial element of proof. This chapter discusses the conditions in which this regime of truth emerged by setting it within the context of the contemporary history of asylum and analyzes how medical and psychological certification of persecution suffered tested the organizations supporting the asylum seekers. It also seeks to explain the tensions and contradictions in the moral economy of Western societies which on the one hand asserts generous principles of protection for victims of persecution while at the same time managing their recognition through the restrictive terms of immigration control.

Keywords: asylum; asylum-seekers; France; immigration control; element of proof

Chapter.  9437 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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