Collaborations and Performative Agency in Refugee Theater in Germany

Bhimji, Fazila orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7234-852X (2015) Collaborations and Performative Agency in Refugee Theater in Germany. Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 14 (1). pp. 83-103. ISSN 1556-2948

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The article contributes to an understanding of the formation of political identities of asylum seekers within the context of theater in Germany. Thus, this article demonstrates the ways in which the identity of the refugee as a political activist is accomplished through performative exercise for the German audience. In doing so, the refugee-activist does not aim simply toward assimilating within German society, but rather her/his identity is formed within a context of unjust European and German asylum laws. Much scholarship has focused on the concept of networks and citizenship in the context of immigrant and refugee protests, but the notion of performative agency within the realm of refugee theater has been less discussed. This article, by exploring the performative agency of refugees, contributes to an understanding of refugee political activism in spheres other than camps and the streets. In doing so, the article contributes to consider alternate modes of refugee activism such as the cultural sphere. Data are drawn from the viewing of seven performances in Germany of refugee activists from the global South as well as from interviews with the theater team.

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