Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).
SP05: Contested Boundaries of Humanitarianism. Refugee Movements and the Global Crisis of Asylum Systems - with Julia Dahlvik and Dimitris Parsanoglou
9:00am - 10:30am
Session Chair: Kenneth Horvath, University of Lucerne
Location:BS.G.35 Manchester Metropolitan University
Building: Business School, Ground Floor
organised by RN35
On Governing Protection-Seeking People in Europe
FH Campus Wien University of Applied Sciences, Austria
In this contribution, I first provide a brief overview on how the political category of “refugee” has developed over time and what are its linkages with global political and economic developments. While in the 1980s and 90s the distinctions between economic and political migrants already became increasingly problematic, some scholars agree that today people move between different categories and that the Geneva Convention is inadequate for dealing with today’s situation (Castles 2007, Westra et al. 2015).
In the second part I argue that to understand the logics of today’s asylum system we have to consider the often overlooked level of state administration, where asylum politics are realized on a daily basis. Public officials not only implement policies but also contribute to them by making use of their discretion in implementing public programs and by attributing political meaning to their actions (Lipsky 2010, Fassin 2015). Also judges, when they determine refugee status, ideologically tend to follow either the national or the cosmopolitan paradigm, linked to the concepts of national or universal solidarity respectively (Morris 2010). In this part I will provide some insights from my institutional ethnography in the Austrian asylum authority.
I conclude by exploring the question whether continuous reforms of the asylum system are the best way to deal with the current situation or whether a radical change is necessary. Considering e.g. extreme differences in countries’ recognition rates, which role does the European Union really play in this human rights issue? And which effects do recent attacks on fundamental legal instruments such as the ECHR have?
Julia Dahlvik earned her PhD in Sociology in 2014 at the University of Vienna, Austria, and currently works at the University of Applied Sciences FH Campus Wien. Her research focuses on migration and asylum, law and society, and organisations. She was a visiting scholar at the University of Stanford and the University of Amsterdam and has been teaching at different Austrian universities. She is a founding member and co-speaker of the Law & Society section of the Austrian Sociological Association and has co-organised annual conferences on migration and integration research in Austria for several years. Julia’s book Inside Asylum Bureaucracy: Organizing Refugee Status Determination in Austria, based on her award-winning dissertation, was recently published with Springer Open Access in the IMISCOE Research Series. Julia has edited and published numerous books and articles; her work has been published in Migration Studies and Urban Research & Practice among others.
Volunteering for Refugees and the Repositioning of State Sovereignty and Civil Society: The Case of Greece
Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Greece
In this presentation, I will focus on Greece and more specifically on the ways in which both state sovereignty and governance have been challenged by solidarity initiatives in unprecedented intensity. Since the beginning of the ‘refugee crisis’, particularly since the spring of 2015, multiple new actors have been playing a substantial role throughout the country wherever emergency conditions occurred. My main research question is to examine the interactions between these different actors and the possible impact of their involvement on the governance of mobility in all its instances, both during and after the ‘refugee crisis’. In other words, I examine to what extent solidarity towards refugees has shifted both the scope of state sovereignty and the limits of citizenship.
My analysis will be based on empirical material gathered from semi-structured in-depth interviews with volunteers and activists who have been working with refugees in different settings in Lesbos and in Athens, as well as with representatives of relevant authorities, e.g. Ministry for Migration Policy, Hellenic Asylum Service etc.
My approach is three-fold: first, I will propose a typology of actors that have been present in the broad field of the ‘management of refugee crisis’. Secondly, I will highlight the motivations, the content and the effects of enacted solidarity both on volunteers and activists themselves and on the socio-political context within which they are acting. Finally, I will analyse the repercussions of the ‘intrusion’ of individual, supranational and non-state actors into services, activities and interventions that belong to the hard sphere of State sovereignty.
Dimitris Parsanoglou is a Lecturer and Senior Researcher at the Department of Social Policy at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences in Athens. He holds a DEA and a PhD in Sociology at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He has coordinated, as Senior researcher of the Centre for Gender Studies of the Panteion University, the FP7 project “MIG@NET: Transnational Digital Networks, Migration and Gender” and he has taught Sociology at the Department of Philosophy and Social Studies of the University of Crete. He was a Post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Peloponnese, in the framework of the ARISTEIA project “Migration Management and International Organizations: A history of the establishment of the International Organization for Migration”. He is currently coordinating the project “Beyond the ‘refugee crisis’: Investigating patterns of integration of refugees and asylum seekers in Greece”, funded by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation.