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Title: Unspectacular events : researching vulnerability through the localised and particular
Author: Page, Tiffany
ISNI:       0000 0004 5917 4240
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis investigates vulnerability as a concept and as a methodological practice, using a localised analysis as a feminist methodological approach. Drawing from archival texts in the form of media reports published online between 2014 and 2015, it provides an in-depth case study analysis of two individuals who set fire to their bodies, or what is commonly referred to as self-immolation. These are the stories of Leorsin Seemanpillai, a Sri Lankan man who sought asylum in Australia in 2013, and Mariam al-Khawli, a Syrian woman who along with her husband and four children registered as refugees in Lebanon in 2012 after the civil war began in Syria. The tensions in modes of telling stories and challenges in cross-cultural scholarship led me to outline the core components of a vulnerable methodology. This involves discussing what it might mean to explicate and recognise vulnerability in writing. The thesis works with the tension of vulnerability being a universal condition, and the way it is differentially experienced and distributed across particular bodies. As a response, it proposes examining elements or qualities of vulnerability that might emerge as people make lives within located contexts and conditions through altering spatial and temporal registers. This approach focuses on the everyday activities of Seemanpillai and Khawli and situates these alongside, rather than in response to, macro level political systems. By doing so the terms of other elements of subjectivity—agency, intention and action—become unstable. As means to examine this, the thesis proposes the concept of “micro events” to distinguish the space, time and pace of activities drawn out through a longer arc of time. This thesis argues that micro events help to illustrate how elements of vulnerability are interwoven into the textures and materiality of the event’s context and conditions, and the ways in which individuals live within both spectacular and unspectacular, ongoing temporalities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral