Translating Migrant Muslim Men: Strategies of conditional inclusion by Afghan interpreters employed by western armies

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This article investigates refugees’ labour to gain inclusion within the ‘host’ community, drawing on interviews with male Afghan former interpreters employed by Western armies. It makes an empirical contribution by centring them as active agents rather than as passive tropes in the racialised and gendered discourses of the ‘War on Terror’ and Western migration policies. It offers a synthesis between concepts from three fields: migration as translation, migrant masculinities and the battleground of conditional inclusion. By focussing on migrant’ self-translations in dialogue with translations of their bodies and stories by host country’s institutions, I trace three strategies: insertion, subversion and exemption. While Afghan interpreters largely fail to be recognised as needing protection from harm, their insertion and subversion of discourses of protection based on service are more successful. Finally, they counter their interpellation as dangerous bodies with a strategy of exemption that can be momentarily successful but remains ultimately precarious.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Politics and Gender
Early online date23 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Nov 2023

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© European Conference on Politics and Gender and Bristol University Press 2023

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