Geographies of hiding: power, vulnerability and agency in secret spaces

Valentine Gavard-Suaire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores situations of forced hiding that affect migrants and sex workers – two groups regularly pushed out of site or out of sight. It argues that hiding is an important angle through which geographies of exclusion and abandonment can be approached. The first part of the paper uncovers the governance of hiding patterns, showing how stigmatised groups can be pushed to hide. The paper reveals that it is their right to appear as political actors that is under attack, not their mere visibility or physical presence. The second part focuses on the agentic potential that survives while people are hiding, highlighting how they negotiate the conditions of their truncated presence. Both sections show that hiding needs to be addressed distinctly from other forms of invisibility and absence, and underline the importance of uncovering geographies of hiding to understand how power is inconspicuously negotiated at different scales.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12532
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalGeography Compass
Issue number10
Early online date25 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2020

Cite this