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About Jennifer Allsopp

Jennifer Allsopp is a regular contributor and Commissioning Editor at openDemocracy 50.50. She has worked on a number of research projects at the universities of Exeter, Birmingham and Oxford including on asylum, youth migration, gender and poverty. She has also worked with a range of refugee and migrant organisations. She is a PhD candidate at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford. Follow her on twitter @JenniferAllsopp


Articles by Jennifer Allsopp

This week's editor

Constitutional conventions: best practice

A very British tug of war over Europe’s child refugees

Parliament has voted to silence the voices of local communities. Their message of European solidarity and warm welcome for refugees is an anathema to the politics of Brexit Britain.

Theresa May and the love police

In Theresa May’s “One Nation” we are all border guards. Her vision of the Big Society will make us all shrink.

Mind the gap: why are unaccompanied children disappearing in their thousands?

Until the EU recognises the specific needs of child migrants and makes it a priority to swiftly reunite them with family members, many will likely continue to abscond from the reception system.

The refugee crisis: demilitarising masculinities

Photos emerging from the borders of Europe weave a new narrative around what it means to be vulnerable, to be a man, to say no to war and to be a refugee.

Philosophies of migration

Migration raises more fundamental questions than 'should these people be here': it probes into the very essence of what it means to be human, as well as how we define our communities.

Libya: "Rejoicing at our bloody democracy"

For sustainable peace, the UN must refuse to sanction militarism as the default response to unwanted migration and invest in grassroots women and youth human rights defenders.

A new narrative on human rights, security and prosperity

It’s up to us to ‘reframe the narrative’ of development, to move beyond the historic thrust of capital and war and to say no impunity for the murder of Indigenous women. Jennifer Allsopp reports from WILPF's Centenary Conference in the Hague.

Women's power to stop war: rereading Virginia Woolf

Three Guineas was published in 1938 but it remains startlingly relevant. War will not end while women are kept out of power and while power is governed on the historic terms that men established.

Women human rights defenders: reigniting the embers

The profile of today’s front line activist is different to that of the freedom fighter of old. We need to see her in her wholeness. Jennifer Allsopp reports from the Nobel Women’s Initiative conference in the Netherlands.

Hidden women human rights defenders in the UK

Without recognising the work of women who seek to protect human rights domestically, the UK government risks seeing the activist’s role as a stage of international development rather than as a core function of democracy. 

Disposable Girls

The fight to protect the world's girls, whether from sexual exploitation or abduction, is not about saving individuals. It is about profound structural change in the hierarchical power relations of patriarchy.

Migrant lives in the UK: the deprivation of liberty

Detention is often seen as a difficult issue and one best avoided, even among those who make it their business to talk about immigration. To mark the first Parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention, we are opening a new series which will explore migrant lives out of sight. 

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. 

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.

"We want peace. We’re tired of war"

"If we live violence every day, how can we work for the development of our country so that we can benefit from human rights like other countries and like other women?"  - Julienne Lusenge speaking about her work as a women's human rights defender in the DRC

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.

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 and also 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.

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