Minding the Gap : the Role of UK Civil Society in the European Refugee Crisis

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Statsvetenskap

Abstract:

The recent collapse of the Dublin system, a system meant to distribute responsibility towards asylum-seekers and refugees between EU Member States (MSs), has marked a new phase of the so-called European Refugee “Crisis”, where the inability of EU MS governments to address the situation in a unified and coherent manner ultimately harms those most in need of protection. Public discontent with EU and MS government responses to the crisis has led to strong citizen mobilisation in the form of civil society. This study focuses on the case of the UK and examines the role played by policy advocacy Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). The concept of Political Responsibility is used to establish the emergence of a Governance Gap in the UK's response to the crisis, where the government finds itself unable to bridge a growing distance between its representation and responsible governance functions. Policy advocacy CSOs are found to be now minding this gap. Critical Discourse Analysis is used to study how CSOs react to the UK government's response in terms of practice and discourse, and to highlight the consequences which language use can have on how we perceive and treat refugees and asylum-seekers in this context.

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