Transforming Refugees: Biopolitics and medical construction of Southeast Asian Immigrant Subjects

Biopolitical medicine was and continues to be a complex apparatus that economizes the functions of sociopolitical importance. The resulting institutional frameworks impact processes of racialization, ethnic politics, transnational relations and “psycho-cultural” identity making subjects the objects of bureaucratic regulation and control. In this context, refugee and immigrant cultural manifestations are subverted in an effort to reconstruct homogeneous regions of governable subjects. Unfortunately, many attempts to transform these disadvantaged newcomers culturally and thus establish a new form of cultural identity have failed and often really only succeed in constructing new heterogeneous forms. It is at this point that Biopolitics is rendered problematic. For when it casts itself as the mediator of realities that it can not possibly unearth through discursive practices and that autonomously attempts to determine individual character and social behavior, and yet somehow remain unaffected by that behavior, it becomes the subject of its own disparate appearance-determining reality.