Storytelling as 'unorthodox' agency: negotiating the 2012 family immigration rules (United Kingdom)

Amanda Russell Beattie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article attends to the lived experience of binational families subject to the 2012 family immigration rules (FIR). It seeks to enrich the pre-existing discussions of family migration within the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom, focusing on the ‘micro-political’ experiences of those whose lives have been adversely affected by their introduction. It draws on the life writings
of binational families, suggesting that a micro-political focus reveals an ongoing neuropolitical experience that traditional accounts of moral agency are ill-equipped to negotiate. The article suggests an unorthodox interpretation of agency premised on storytelling, while probing the tensions that emerge when this lived experience is framed in such a manner. It concludes by
positing a series of questions relating to the value of a neuropolitical labelling of the subject and suggests a need to further engage with traumatic interpretations of harm at the intersection of citizenship rights and mobility rights.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-316
Number of pages15
Issue number3
Early online date11 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • agency
  • family migration
  • international relations
  • storytelling


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