From victims to Asylum Queen: Nigerian refugee women and labour integration programmes


  • Noemi Martorano University of Padua, Italy



This article is focused on labour integration programmes for Nigerian refugee women in the context of reception and integration system (SAI) in Italy. Although such programmes are presented as orientation and support for job placements, services meant to support beneficiaries in achieving progressive autonomy and “integration”. We find that in the case of Nigerian these pathways appear to be particularly ‘problematic’ as they take the form of a rehabilitation path, infused with stereotyped expectations and representations. This study aims to investigate the narratives of receptions operators and reveal the imaginary of gender, culture, and racialisation that inform the paths of refugees and reinforce it through practice. As the categorical definition of “Young Nigerian refugee women” emerges as a stereotyped representation, refugees shift from being vulnerable subjects to Asylum Queens: the archetype of “broken”, unproductive, lazy, profiteering, “difficult to integrate” subject. In short, a “problematic” subject for reception operators.

Keywords: labour integration, nigerian refugees, stereotypes, intersectionality, asylum queen.