“Refugee Youth Agency in Flux: Active and Passive Waiting in Transit Country Indonesia”
Talk by Realisa Masardi, Universitas Gadjah Mada and University of Michigan
For more than two decades, Indonesia has been a transit spot for asylum seekers from Central Asia, South Asia, East Africa, and Southeast Asia while irregularly en route to Australia. Following Australia’s controversial ‘stop the boats’ policy, thousands of refugees, including the young population, must wait longer in Indonesia to get their refugee status processed by UNHCR and to have a chance to resettle in a third country. As a non-signatory state to the 1951 Refugee Convention, Indonesia has a limited legal framework to protect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, which causes grave precarious conditions for them. Nevertheless, arbitrariness in Indonesia’s legal framework and its flexibility in handling refugees surprisingly has provided a certain level of “informal protection” and opportunities for young refugees to make maneuvers in the fluid arenas. As they wait, the young people also plan, anticipate, negotiate, hustle, play, and rest. This talk will focus on the dynamics of refugee youths’ agency-in-waiting. Professor Masardi explores how young refugees exercise passive and active waiting and what contributing factors catalyze or impede the distribution of their agency.
Realisa D Masardi is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia. She is the awardee of the prestigious 2022 Gosling-Lim Postdoctoral Fellowship in Southeast Asian Studies. Currently, Professor Masardi is completing her postdoc program at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. Professor Masardi has been working on the issues of children and young people in several migrants/refugees communities in Southeast Asia, focusing on their identities, access to rights, and agency, particularly on their everyday survival movements. She received her PhD in anthropology at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Her dissertation focuses on the social navigation of independent young refugees from diverse countries facing precarities during transit in Indonesia.