Conference Agenda

Panel 707: Migration and Identity
Wednesday, 08/Sept/2021:
9:30am - 11:00am

Session Chair: Joana de Deus Pereira, University of South Wales


Disrupting pathways for protection: A critical assessment of Australia’s refugee externalisation ‘model’ for Europe

Margherita Matera, Philomena Murray, Tamara Tubakovic

The University of Melbourne, Australia

With approximately 80 million forcibly displaced persons worldwide in 2020, it is increasingly recognised by policy-makers and scholars that the movement of refugees and asylum-seekers constitutes an urgent governance challenge. Over the years, Western states have responded by progressively hardening their migration control strategies and implementing numerous measures to ‘externalise’ their borders. These measures, designed to prevent refugees from fleeing dangerous regions, leave vulnerable individuals stranded without durable solutions. The EU and Australia have both pursued externalisation measures and both have been subject to much scholarly attention and critique. Although the Australian approach has featured prominently in recent EU political debates, there has been little comprehensive scholarly analysis of how and why a possible adoption of the Australian model might have relevance for refugee policy-making in Europe and for debates regarding refugee protection more broadly. The aim of this paper is to focus on what role the Australian ‘model’ has played for European politicians and policy-makers when developing their solutions to the refugee ‘crisis’. It thus examines the Australian model as a discursive tool used by policy-makers, and politicians, to legitimise the worst excesses of the EU’s externalisation agenda. Drawing on the theoretical precepts of normative institutionalism (March and Olsen 1984; Finnermore and Sikkink 1998), this paper examines how states – and here also supranational organisations – can influence each other’s policies by establishing new norms of acceptable behaviour, and thus providing the boundaries within which others can develop or legitimise their own policy approaches. The paper argues that Australia has re-set the parameters of what is normal or acceptable in refugee externalisation – what could be regarded as a new level of refugee protection or lack therefore. The paper makes several important contributions to the literature on EU-Australia refugee externalisation. It develops on recent scholarship to explore how the Australian model has impacted on EU policy-making and vice versa. It therefore contributes to a broader theoretical discussion on how states influence policies outside their territory, particularly through the use of soft measures such as norm diffusion and the transfer of policy ideas. Moreover, by focusing on what impact Australia has had on the European Union, the paper inverses the traditional focus in the literature on norm creation and diffusion, which analyses the EU’s normative influence, to understand how states external to the EU, and the European integration project, influence EU policy-making and the means by which they do so.

Is Frontex a Cultural Agent?

Antonia-Maria Sarantaki1,2

1National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece; 2Athens University of Economics & Business, Greece

Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, is well-known for its operational activities and the conduct of joint missions at the EU external borders. Yet, after 16 years of institutional development, continuous mandate enhancements and significant staff expansion, Frontex has become more than an operational organiser and irregular entries’ statistics database. Being the sole border control EU agency as well as the only EU-level actor that deals with border control and has a continuous presence at the EU external borders, it relishes a central position in the border control community. Inspired by this, the paper seeks to explore Frontex’s cultural traits. Its aim is to investigate whether Frontex has developed and is promoting its own culture.

Offering a fresh prism on Frontex’s scrutiny, as culture has not been inserted in Frontex’s analysis, this paper adopting a constructivist prism of analysis, suggests resetting Frontex as an institution by taking on culture. Drawing on Frontex’s role as an EU border control actor and its institutional disposition as an EU agency, this paper shows that Frontex is no stranger to cultural behaviour. Instead, having reached maturity, a modus vivendi and essendi, Frontex is also developing its own culture impacting on the EU border control.

Introducing Grounded Theory In The European Politics: An Example From The European Parliament

George Kordas

Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Greece

European politics create a vast field nowadays for political science researchers, as they cover economic, social and political life. Researchers often apply the economic terms of “supply” and “demand”, highlighting both the voters’ demand for specific policies and the political parties’ supply. Combining that scheme with the quantitative methodology, usually, statistical data enters the field, and the results are extracting from it with the contribution of an early provided well-known theory. Consequently, it is biased against both the political actors' (the elite) everyday discourse – and the citizens (the public).

Such a gap in political science research can be covered by applying interpretive methodologies. Not omitting the importance of quantitative methodologies, the political agenda nowadays is constructed specifically from its actors, at an everyday level, and according to their political and social interactions. Even though more and more researchers have acknowledged the benefits of applying discourse analysis in political science, the reality is not the same while talking about the grounded theory methodology. The difference between the two interpretive methodologies lies in their focus. The discourse analysis highlights the structure of the language and the dynamic of the used words. At the same time, the grounded theory enters the field driven by the data, as it searches for definitions and values on them.

During its process through the decades, the grounded theory has been split to various schools, of which the current research follows the constructivist tradition. In that way, the reality is reconstructed, through the interaction between the researcher and the data. The significance lies in the import of the researcher’s experience on the data. Consequently, the researcher actively participated in the creation of the theory. In parallel with the constructivist turn, researchers introduced abduction to grounded theory, combining a form of logical inference with the philosophical tradition of grounded theory.

The current research will examine how European politics can benefit by applying the constructivist approach of the grounded theory methodology and what problems our research can face. We will use the refugee and migration crisis in Europe to apply our approach, drawing our sample for the Members of the European Parliament discourse. Our research question examines how European values have been affected during the refugee and migration crisis through our sample's discourse. Simultaneously, the role of CAQDAS will be presented, as the current research has used MAXQDA software to create its categories and visualise its analysis.

Different Types of Diversity, Similar Claims? A Regional Comparison of "Old" and "New" Minorities

Katharina Crepaz

Eurac Research, Italy

Accommodating religious, linguistic and cultural diversity while at the same time ensuring cohesion and shared standards of living together are some of the biggest challenges that modern societies face. Due to a history of minority persecution and assimilation, most European states have nowadays implemented minority protection policies for historic minority communities, also referred to as “old” minorities; however, no stable system for integrating diversity originating from the most recent migratory flows (“new” minorities) has been established yet. Minorities and migrant groups are regarded as a dichotomy, and largely studied in isolation from each other, when in fact migrant integration frameworks could benefit immensely from the vast experience of minority protection policy and research. The present project aims to bridge this gap, by investigating the under-researched field of claims made by migrants, and comparing them to those of historic minority groups in three regions in Italy and Austria (South Tyrol, Trentino, Tyrol), which are distinguished by the presence or absence of “old” minorities and by migrant populations from different countries of origin. Connecting both research areas is highly beneficial, as there are many overlapping pressing questions, the most important one being how to accommodate linguistic, religious and cultural diversity without endangering societal cohesion or creating parallel societies. First, international documents and standards for the protection of “old” minorities were categorized according to thematic areas, such as language, religion, and respect for diversity. The identified issue areas then served as basis for establishing a questionnaire, and currently a quantitative survey is being carried out in all three case studies. The aim is to find out which claims, opinions, wishes and desires the largest migrant groups in each case study hold, and whether they are even interested in gaining protection provisions similar to the ones in place for “old” minorities. We expect migrants to at least partly voice claims similar to those made by “old” minorities, which would allow for the drafting of a common but differentiated framework outlining the accommodation of linguistic, cultural and religious diversity. This does not imply that full minority rights would have to be extended to all migrant groups, but that protection measures already implemented for minorities could also include migrants in certain policy areas. Migrants could get an increased sense of belonging as an integral but distinct part of the population, which could be beneficial for ensuring participation, and help to prevent the creation of parallel societies.