(Un)dignified migration: Representations of the refugee in Helon Habila’s Travellers

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Abstract

This article analyses images of the refugee in the novel Travellers (2019) by Helon Habila and examines their connection to dignity and personal history. Travellers captures the complex and intricate situations of refugees and migrants in Europe, providing insights about urgent social issues such as inequality, racism and discrimination. The novel also raises questions relating to human rights discourses and how they connect with personal history. While Travellers does not explicitly deal with the refugee crisis in 2015, during which about 1 million people sought asylum in Europe, it does address the situation of thousands of people trying to enter Europe for a variety of reasons and in different contexts. The theoretical framework is partly built around the concept of postmigration which attempts to go beyond seeing the migrant as the perpetual other and to advocate views of migration as an inherent part of society. The analysis focuses on instances of uncertainty and lack of unity, on migration as a separating, dividing experience, but also examines to what extent Travellers manifests and reinvents the postmi-grant condition with its focus towards the future and seeing society itself as post-migrant, particularly through its depictions of dignity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-151
JournalCrossings: Journal of Migration and Culture
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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