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Disrupting State Spaces: Asylum Seekers in Australia’s Offshore Detention Centres

School of Social Sciences, Western Sydney University, Sydney 2751, Australia
Academic Editor: Karen Jacobsen
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(3), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10030082
Received: 5 January 2021 / Revised: 8 February 2021 / Accepted: 24 February 2021 / Published: 1 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Rights and Displaced People in Exceptional Times)
The Australian government has spent over a billion dollars a year on managing offshore detention (Budget 2018–2019). Central to this offshore management was the transference and mandatory detention of asylum seekers in facilities that sit outside Australia’s national sovereignty, in particular on Manus Island (Papua New Guinea) and Nauru. As a state-sanctioned spatial aberration meant to deter asylum seekers arriving by boat, offshore detention has resulted in a raft of legal and policy actions that are reshaping the modern state-centric understanding of the national space. It has raised questions of sovereignty, of moral, ethical and legal obligations, of national security and humanitarian responsibilities, and of nationalism and belonging. Using a sample of Twitter users on Manus during the closure of the Manus Island detention centre in October–November 2017, this paper examines how asylum seekers and refugees have negotiated and defined the offshore detention space and how through the use of social media they have created a profound disruption to the state discourse on offshore detention. The research is based on the premise that asylum seekers’ use social media in a number of disruptive ways, including normalising the presence of asylum seekers in the larger global phenomena of migration, humanising asylum seekers in the face of global discourses of dehumanisation, ensuring visibility by confirming the conditions of detention, highlighting Australia’s human rights violations and obligations, and challenging the government discourse on asylum seekers and offshore detention. Social media is both a tool and a vehicle by which asylum seekers on Manus Island could effect that disruption. View Full-Text
Keywords: seeking asylum; disruption; detention centres; social media; refugees; resistance seeking asylum; disruption; detention centres; social media; refugees; resistance
MDPI and ACS Style

Sharples, R. Disrupting State Spaces: Asylum Seekers in Australia’s Offshore Detention Centres. Soc. Sci. 2021, 10, 82. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10030082

AMA Style

Sharples R. Disrupting State Spaces: Asylum Seekers in Australia’s Offshore Detention Centres. Social Sciences. 2021; 10(3):82. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10030082

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sharples, Rachel. 2021. "Disrupting State Spaces: Asylum Seekers in Australia’s Offshore Detention Centres" Soc. Sci. 10, no. 3: 82. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10030082

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Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

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