'A baby is a baby': the Asha protests and the sociology of affective post-nationalism

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Theories of post-nationalism are concerned with deconstructing the relationship between citizenship and national identity. While literature in this field has tended towards macro-institutionalist analysis, recent research has re-articulated post-nationalism as micro-level practice. This article builds on this development by attending to the ‘affective conditions’ of such micro-political practices. The article draws on research into protests in Brisbane in February 2016 to prevent ‘Asha’, a child seeking asylum, from being returned to offshore detention. The analysis of this case demonstrates that affect performs a dual function in the practice of post-nationalism, to catalyse action in solidarity with the noncitizen informed primarily by the emotional resonance of a particular rendering of vulnerability, and in re-imagined solidarity with the co-citizen around a post-national community of feeling. Informed by this analysis, the article highlights the complex and fragile nature of a post-national solidarity dependent on intersecting, overlapping, and at times problematic, affective conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-162
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Early online date16 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).


  • affect
  • asylum
  • borders
  • post-nationalism
  • solidarity


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