At the Limits of Narrative. Unintelligibility and the (Im)possibilities of Self-Disclosure in the Asylum Claiming Process.

Lucie Robathan


This paper offers an intervention into the notion of narrativity. It aims to refract Ricœur’s hermeneutics of the subject through a more expanded account of the political dimension of narrative, both to situate the narrative self politically, and to flesh out the ethico-political (im)possibilities of self-disclosure. Focusing on the process of claiming asylum as an instance of politically precarious self-disclosure in which narrative is demanded as a marker of truthful identity, it will explore the limits of narrative as the mode through which subjectivity is made intelligible. Through an analysis of the residues of power in the institution of language that qualify the emergence of the speaking subject and the socio-political assumptions we can excavate from the notion of narrative time, this paper will suggest that narrative unintelligibility could have politically transformative potential.


Narrative; Intelligibility; Language; Time; Asylum

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