Rieti Gengo

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Notre Dame, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9408

Approve Date

April 18, 2017

Project Title

Gengo, Rieti G., U. of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN - To aid research on 'Biosocial Correlates of Political Invisibility Among Asylum Seekers at Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya,' supervised by Dr. Rahul C. Oka

Preliminary abstract: At Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya, thousands of people are rendered politically invisible when their petitions for refugee status are denied and they lose institutional support from the UN and other NGOs that other refugees can access. I suggest that this situation represents a distinctly different iteration of structural violence than that experienced by most refugees under protracted encampment. By examining four domains of well-being–perceived quality of life, social support, physiological function, and general health–I ask how politically invisible asylum seekers circumvent institutional restrictions, gaining indirect access to crucial resources and thereby avoiding the negative impacts of life on the margins. In doing so, I highlight the need for anthropologists of structural violence to add nuance to this analytical tool, and I also propose social support network reorganization as a mode of active resilience to adversity.