Free Telling in the Total Space?—On the Procedures of Power in the Asylum Procedure and Their Relevance for Biographical Interviews of Refugees

Marc Thielen


Based on a research project with migrants from Iran this paper focuses on the influence of a strictly regulated German asylum life situation on autobiographical telling in research contexts. Regardless of the specific research topic the interview situation and the relationship between interviewer and interviewee always influence shape, form and fashion of the biographical narration. As a result of the strict regimentation of the asylum procedures and their far-reaching impact on biographies in the "total refugee space," an intensification of the hierarchical structure in the interview situation can be observed. Considering the empirical results this paper calls for a reflexive biographical research. This approach has to analyze the power relations in the transnational space and their consequences on the research process. It also has to recognize that researchers and interviewees are not only confined to their culture differences, but that the setting comprises all intersectional localizations, which are defined by social and economic status, nationality, gender, sexuality etc.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0901393


migration; asylum; narrative interview; biographical research


Copyright (c) 2009 Marc Thielen

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