Working Paper

‘We the Sudanese refugees’: examining how tensions between identity and identification play out in protests

Published 13 July 2018 / By Rosanna O’Keeffe

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This paper examines the specific vulnerabilities of refugees and the ways in which these vulnerabilities intersect and are exacerbated along other lines of identity, in this case nationality. It considers the difference between identity and identification and how the power of the identifying body can alter the lived reality of those being identified. A protest of Sudanese refugees against the UNHCR in 2005 is used to demonstrate the real and devastating consequences of conflicts between identity and identification, refugee-ness and refugee status. It concludes there is a need to recognise the spectrum of refugee experiences, both on an individual level but also by those with legal power and that there is positive potential in ‘fractioning’ the refugee label.


Refugees, Sudan, Egypt, identity, protests


Rosanna O’Keeffe, University of Oxford (2016-17), MSc (Migration Studies); Email:


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