About Jennifer Allsopp

Jennifer Allsopp is a regular contributor to openDemocracy 50.50, writing predominantly on migration, politics and women's rights. She is also Editor of the site's People on the Move migration dialogue. She is an Associate Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, working on the Asylum Appeals ProjectShe has previously worked at the Institute of Social Policy and Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford and with a range of refugee and migrant organisations. 

 

Articles by Jennifer Allsopp

This week's guest editors

Sun, sand...and indefinite detention

The UK’s second largest immigration detention centre is about to open in Weymouth. Jennifer Allsopp reports on local responses to the imminent presence of hundreds of foreigners, locked up off the coast of this small and friendly town. 

Philosophies of migration

Given the critical challenges and opportunities posed by migration, can the UK really afford to keep concentrating on the question of who is on the 'inside' and who is on the 'out'? We need a philosophy of what is good rather than a politics of fear, says Jenny Allsopp.

Daring to speak: militarism and women’s human rights in Burma

‘How can we get peace and democracy when we still have domestic wars and when everyday people are dying?’ Jessica Nhkum spoke to Jennifer Allsopp at the Nobel Women's Initiative conference in Belfast about the importance of documenting human rights violations, injustices and inequality on the ground in Burma

Militarism and non-state actors: ‘the other invasion’

'What they call transnational development companies. For us they represent death and destruction’, yet when it comes to the pursuit of justice through law, too often activists are on the wrong side. Jennifer Allsopp reports from Belfast at the Nobel Women’s Initiative Conference.

To a culture of peace from a culture of war

The culture of war is like a mangrove that takes root in our everyday lives and institutions occupying a dominant position in the field of cultural reproduction. Jennifer Allsopp reports from the Nobel Women’s Initiative conference on the nonviolent tactics, syllabuses, movements and strategies in place to build a culture of peace.

Peacebuilding and the nation-state: towards a nonviolent world

When did a political formation in theory designed to preserve our common good become a machinery of war? Or does the nation-state depend on militarism for its very existence? Jennifer Allsopp writes from the Nobel Women’s Initiative conference in Belfast.

Anti-deportation campaigns: ‘What kind of country do you want this to be?’

A new musical, Glasgow Girls, showcases the power of anti-deportation campaigns as both an expression of human solidarity and an essential device for holding states to account. But their key role, argues Jennifer Allsopp, is to build support for an asylum system that upholds the rights of all.

The mind of the traffickers

Consumer campaigns, self-help methodology and those who risk their lives to defend others cannot match the power of the trafficking industry. Jennifer Allsopp, reporting on the Trust Women conference, looks for the core strategic thread that would take seriously the question of where power, and hence obligation lies.

Women’s rights and the rule of law: education and implementation

Legislative victories are important in changing society to eradicate injustices like forced child marriage, but such change is delivered because of and not without daring, challenging, transformative processes of education and action whether led by state, religious, familiar or civic actors. Trusting women, and trusting ourselves, can often be a moment of defiance

Women human rights defenders: activism's front-line

There is growing recognition by the international community that women human rights defenders are best placed to respond to violence against women and a crucial force for peace;  but the international protection framework needs to be made more accessible to those in need, says Jennifer Allsopp.

State feminism: co-opting women’s voices

Feminism is being used by some states as a political proxy to gloss over economic policies that hurt women, meanwhile, grass roots women’s rights activism is looking for new ways to reach parliament. Jennifer Allsopp reports from UK Feminista Summer School 2012

The Women's Library in London: a khôra and a call to arms

At a time in which the word ‘occupy’ has become synonymous with social movements, the threat of closure to The Women’s Library is a crucial reminder that women’s history must also occupy its own space in order to maintain the public profile of women's activism in Britain.

'Migrant Hope' versus political distrust in the UK

Where do we stand when migrant children and young people in Britain cannot even secure basic access to justice?

Tribunal 12: migrants’ rights abuses in Europe

45 years on, the International War Crimes Tribunal set up by Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre is being used to address abuses of migrants’ rights in Europe. It is time to inject solidarity and accountability into the European migration regime, Jennifer Allsopp reports from Stockholm on Tribunal 12

"Food sovereignty" as a transformative model of economic power

The argument is being made that “food sovereignty” is an organising principle so demonstrably strong that it has the potential to transform economic power. Can we really invest in it as the ecological principle to take us into the 21st century? Jenny Allsopp reports from the AWID Forum 2012

Visible players: the power and the risks for young feminists

From the student protests in Chile, to the protests of the 'Arab spring' in the MENA region, the debate among young feminists about how to reclaim public space reveals tensions between an individualist model of autonomy and a collectivist reclamation of public space. Jenny Allsopp reports on day two of the AWID Forum 2012

Women defining economic citizenship

How can we empower women to participate in existing economic structures but transform them? We need a model of economic power and citizenship that is not simply about sustaining capital or growth, but sustaining and celebrating life itself.  Jenny Allsopp reports directly from the AWID Forum 2012. Here are parts two and three of her report.

Migrations:reconstructing 'Britishness' in art

The Tate Britain exhibition, ‘Migrations: Journeys into British Art’ highlights migrants’ central role in the development of British art, as well as exploring tensions that arise from such mobility. Our cultural heritage owes much to the circulation of ideas and people, argues Jenny Allsopp

The politics of belonging in Britain

'There is no opposite to belonging’: Nira Yuval-Davis in conversation with Jenny Allsopp on religion, migration and the politics of belonging. So is it time to open up the debate and ask what it means to belong 'in' - rather than 'to' - contemporary Britain?

Tearing down the bridge to inclusion for young asylum seekers

The funding cuts in the UK are hitting young asylum seekers by blocking well-established pathways into inclusion. This reality sits uncomfortably with David Cameron’s ‘Big Society inclusion’, and the costs of this hypocrisy will be manifold, says Jenny Allsopp

Standing together: beyond the headlines

"Ok, now give me youthful enthusiasm!"

We all beam up at the camera as the local journalist takes photos of us preparing banners for Refugee Week; balloons, laughter and colourful paint. ‘Maybe we could paint ‘Refugee Week' on one of your faces?' The irony kills me; reluctant for a foreign face to appear in relation with this issue unless they are a criminal or footballer, a pretty white face is a lovely stage. For one day only it will be me, the lucky one to be branded with the colourful stamp of ‘refugee' while I hold a balloon next to me to represent a whole sub-population of faceless individuals. And why is this the case? Firstly, for many misguided people my face seems to fit the image of community in a way that of a foreigner does not. Furthermore, refugees themselves are often reluctant to come forward in the public eye and challenge this, and who can blame them given the public backlash these issues often face: it is a vicious circle...

What makes us care, and how do we act?

Rosemary and Zrinka have raised some extremely important questions - not only ‘who cares for who', but what makes us care, and how we choose to express it. I would like to try and shed some light on the second two questions in light of my experience campaigning on asylum issues.

It seems to be a question of proximity, both in terms of coming into contact with the issues and our ability to act. People are more willing to deal with refugee and asylum issues when it is a question of isolated acts of human kindness; we find it easier to perceive an asylum seeker as a charity case than a dignified human being with ‘political baggage'. The same difficulty is encountered with many other social issues, especially homelessness: however complicated the problem is, a small donation is a concrete step towards a simple (and deserving) end, whilst interacting with the system is an up-hill struggle which rarely boasts such direct rewards.

The absent majority

On Monday night I left Oxford Town Hall after a Refugee Week event totally distressed by the stories I had heard; Margerie and Innocent Empi, two refugees from Uganda and the DRC, journalists Melanie McFadyean and Melissa Benn, and Tariq Ali had all spoken about how we treat those seeking asylum in the UK. I was angry, ashamed and driven to act. I thought, if only everyone had heard what I have heard tonight; if only everyone could feel what I am feeling...

Creative writing at Campsfield

‘I love spring fruits.'

‘Yeah me too, but I miss fresh fruit here, and plantain!'

‘What's plantain?'

‘Ah, OK, you're in for a treat - see here, just left of the Co-op, up the street outside Salvation Army, the best plantain you'll get outside Jamaica, innit. Tell her I sent you.'

The man winks up at me, marking a thick X on the map which he has penned of Bletchley Town Centre. It sits next to a poem we have written together, juxtaposing our different visions of spring to reveal an assortment of diverse experiences and creative minds. We are three Oxford University students and four detainees in Campsfield House from Turkey, Nigeria, Pakistan and Jamaica, and this is our shared experience of spring:

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