A crisis mode in migration governance: comparative and analytical insights

Release date: 2022-03

This paper takes stock of the emerging literature on the governance and framing of both migration and asylum as ‘crises’. This study carries forward this line of thinking by showing how the crisis governance of migration is not just a representation or a discourse but emerges as a mode of governance with specific features. The study focuses on the refugee emergency of 2015–2016, covering however a longer time frame (2011–2018) and a wide set of 11 countries (those neighbouring Syria: Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey; countries that were mainly transit points: Greece, Italy, Poland and Hungary; and countries that were mainly destination points (Austria, Germany, Sweden and the UK). Through the meta-analysis of a broad set of materials arising out of the RESPOND research project, we identified three interacting governance features in times of crisis. These include (1) a multilevel but complex actor landscape (2) complicated and fragmented legal systems and policy provisions that may vary both at the temporal and territorial level; (3) a renationalisation narrative that seeks to bring this multifaceted and fragmented governance landscape together under the promise that the national state can re-establish control and solve the ‘crisis.’

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