• state theory;
  • activism;
  • asylum seekers;
  • refugees

Abstract:  This paper examines the spatial consequences for activism of viewing the state through either a statist or post-structural lens. It is argued that understanding the state in different ways produces very different spatial strategies among activists. Drawing upon detailed case studies of two asylum-seeking activist organisations in the UK, the connections between imaginations of the state, spatial strategies towards institutionalised authority, and the pros and cons of these strategies for activism itself are examined. Through these cases, the paper emphasises the importance of everyday theories about the state not only for understanding what the state is, but also for understanding how relationships with the state are formed and points towards the constructive power of imaginations of the state in their own right.