This essay juxtaposes discourses around measuring, accounting, and auditing that have proliferated in management and institutional administration policies and texts with the wild intractability of queer migrant lives. In the age of Trump and Brexit, we are confronted not only by the imperatives of assessing migrant lives within circumscribed metrics of productive worth but also with the uncomfortable and messy emplacement of these migrant subjects within geographic, affective, and political arenas. Through ethnographic observations and interviews of queer migrants in New York City, this essay offers a reflection on how queer migrant “mismeasures” and “disorder” are openings and opportunities for alternative ways of being and surviving. In other words, the essay asserts that the failure to domesticate and tame the unpredictable queer migrant is itself a way out of the strictures of oppressive evaluative frames in order to establish wildness, mess, and the “unmeasurable” as bases for value and forming a vision of multiple futures.
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Martin F. Manalansan; Messy Mismeasures: Exploring the Wilderness of Queer Migrant Lives. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 July 2018; 117 (3): 491–506. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-6942105
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