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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2019

Asylum Determination in Europe

Ethnographic Perspectives

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Provides a timely examination of the asylum process, exposing the the gaps and differences between policy and legislation in writing and in law as it is practiced

  • Draws on new material from ten European countries

  • Employs sociological, anthropological, geographical and linguistic perspectives

Part of the book series: Palgrave Socio-Legal Studies (PSLS)

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (15 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xvii
  2. Introduction

    • Nick Gill, Anthony Good
    Pages 1-26Open Access
  3. Legal Overview

    • Sarah Craig, Karin Zwaan
    Pages 27-49Open Access
  4. Actors

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 51-51
    2. The “Inner Belief” of French Asylum Judges

      • Carolina Kobelinsky
      Pages 53-68Open Access
    3. The World of Home Office Presenting Officers

      • John R. Campbell
      Pages 91-108Open Access
    4. Asylum Procedures in Greece: The Case of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Minors

      • Chrisa Giannopoulou, Nick Gill
      Pages 109-130Open Access
  5. Communication

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 131-131
    2. Narrating Asylum in Camp and at Court

      • Matilde Skov Danstrøm, Zachary Whyte
      Pages 175-194Open Access
  6. Decision-Making

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 219-219
    2. Taking the ‘Just’ Decision: Caseworkers and Their Communities of Interpretation in the Swiss Asylum Office

      • Laura Affolter, Jonathan Miaz, Ephraim Poertner
      Pages 263-284Open Access
    3. Conclusion

      • Nick Gill
      Pages 307-318Open Access
  7. Back Matter

    Pages 319-335

About this book

Drawing on new research material from ten European countries, Asylum Determination in Europe: Ethnographic Perspectives brings together a range of detailed accounts of the legal and bureaucratic processes by which asylum claims are decided. The book includes a legal overview of European asylum determination procedures, followed by sections on the diverse actors involved, the means by which they communicate, and the ways in which they make life and death decisions on a daily basis. It offers a contextually rich account that moves beyond doctrinal law to uncover the gaps and variances between formal policy and legislation, and law as actually practiced.

The contributors employ a variety of disciplinary perspectives – sociological, anthropological, geographical and linguistic – but are united in their use of an ethnographic methodological approach. Through this lens, the book captures the confusion, improvisation, inconsistency, complexity and emotional turmoil inherent to the process of claiming asylum in Europe.


  • greece
  • italy
  • asylum seekers
  • EU
  • European Union
  • refugee
  • borders
  • immigration
  • security
  • socio-legal
  • citizenship
  • political sociology
  • Open Access
  • sociology of citizenship


“The moral panic evoked by cross-border movement is inevitably accompanied by a lack of knowledge about what ‘determining asylum’ actually entails. This book fills the gap. It covers a wide range of European settings and looks at the nuts and bolts of that process from a variety of disciplinary standpoints, revealing its contradictions with fine-grained ethnographic nuance.” (Deborah James, London School of Economics, UK)

Editors and Affiliations

  • College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

    Nick Gill

  • University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

    Anthony Good

About the editors

Nick Gill is Professor of Human Geography, University of Exeter, UK.

Anthony Good is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)