Constructing the “Refugee Crisis” in Greece: A Critical Discursive Social Psychological Analysis

  • Lia FiggouEmail author
  • Martina Sourvinou
  • Dimitra Anagnostopoulou
Part of the Peace Psychology Book Series book series (PPBS)


This chapter explores the rhetorical implications of the mobilization of the category of “crisis” in parliamentary discourse on the current refugee movement to Europe. The analytic corpus consists of transcripts of debates in the Greek parliament that followed from an agreement in March 2016 between the EU and the Turkish government regarding the movement of refugees. Adopting an approach informed by rhetorical psychology and critical discursive social psychology, the analysis indicated that parliamentarians use different constructions of “crisis” to warrant or to challenge particular policy choices and to construct agency at a national or European level. The parliamentary Opposition related the “crisis” to security concerns, and constructed a conflict between “Islamic terrorism” and the European (Western) way of life and values. A value conflict is also constructed in the discourse of the governmental party. This conflict is represented as internal (between humanistic and xenophobic values in Europe), but it is also represented as involving an external threat to Western liberalism. Findings are discussed in relation to the establishment of a narrative concerning the governmentality of immigration that emphasizes a lack of alternatives, and are also related to Peace Psychology’s concern to cast light on the structural causes of population movements.


Crisis Discursive psychology Peace psychology Refugees Rhetorical psychology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lia Figgou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Martina Sourvinou
    • 1
  • Dimitra Anagnostopoulou
    • 1
  1. 1.Aristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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