Negotiating identity and place in asylum seeker direct provision accommodation centres
This chapter focuses on the concepts of identity and place as expressed through a discussion of asylum seekers' sense of belonging and non-belonging as they await a decision on their refugee application. It is based on a six-year longitudinal anthropological ethnographic study of the asylum process and the experiences of asylum seekers in the direct provision accommodation centres. The chapter outlines who are the asylum seekers coming to Ireland, keeping in mind the issues of belonging and non-belonging. The context of their belonging/non-belonging is the system of the direct provision accommodation centres. The chapter presents the top-down perspective of how the state controls asylum seekers' lives in the centres by exploring the daily interactions and rules governing their space, time and cultural activities. It shows how asylum seekers navigate the asylum process in Ireland by maintaining and practising some aspects of their home culture.