Institutional Scholarship

Constricting Asylum Law to Progress Political Power: Making A Case for Legal Precedent as a Vehicle for Social Change

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dc.contributor.advisor Gettleson, Brie Leiferman, Katie 2020-08-14T18:13:06Z 2020-08-14T18:13:06Z 2020
dc.description.abstract Legal precedent is an integral, yet often overlooked, factor in producing social change. Through an interdisciplinary approach, I utilize a legal textual analysis of the asylum case ​Matter of A-B-​ in order to make visible the interconnections between law and society. The United States under the Trump administration experienced a rise in white supremacist, patriarchal ideology which pervaded the political, social, and cultural spheres. Through analyzing one specific court case decided upon during the Trump era, this thesis aims to shed light on the micropolitics involved in upholding these existing systems of dominance. I examine how a precedent legal decision is involved in spreading rhetoric and imagery which seeks to promote a regressive agenda. Not only do I highlight the dangers in allowing inflammatory rhetoric to function as legal argumentation, but I also point towards the pervasive effects one decision can have throughout broader society. The production of a narrative of immigrant illegality within the decision is circulated throughout the media and through its rearticulation, the case becomes a vehicle for producing social change. By tracing the ways in which a legal text gains a life outside of the case itself, this thesis demonstrates how anthropologists can engage with the law and recognize how seemingly minute legal decisions serve larger political projects. Beyond the field of anthropology, this paper reveals the material impact of the use of law as a venue for discriminatory rhetoric as I center the effects of the court decision on the everyday realities of asylum seekers.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of Anthropology
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject.lcsh United States -- Politics and government -- 2017-
dc.subject.lcsh Asylum, Right of -- Cases
dc.subject.lcsh Political refugees -- United States
dc.subject.lcsh Stare decisis -- United States
dc.subject.lcsh Emigration and immigration law -- United States
dc.title Constricting Asylum Law to Progress Political Power: Making A Case for Legal Precedent as a Vehicle for Social Change
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Dark Archive until 2040-01-01, afterwards Haverford users only.

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