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Asylum Determination in Europe

Ethnographic Perspectives

Editors: Gill, Nick, Good, Anthony (Eds.)

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  • 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
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-94749-5
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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.

About the authors

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.


“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)

Table of contents (15 chapters)

Table of contents (15 chapters)
  • Introduction

    Pages 1-26

    Gill, Nick (et al.)

  • Legal Overview

    Pages 27-49

    Craig, Sarah (et al.)

  • The “Inner Belief” of French Asylum Judges

    Pages 53-68

    Kobelinsky, Carolina

  • “It’s All About Naming Things Right”: The Paradox of Web Truths in the Belgian Asylum-Seeking Procedure

    Pages 69-90

    Spotti, Massimiliano

  • The World of Home Office Presenting Officers

    Pages 91-108

    Campbell, John R.

Buy this book

  • ISBN 978-3-319-94749-5
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on
Hardcover £20.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Asylum Determination in Europe
Book Subtitle
Ethnographic Perspectives
  • Nick Gill
  • Anthony Good
Series Title
Palgrave Socio-Legal Studies
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
Hardcover ISBN
Edition Number
Number of Pages
XVII, 335
Number of Illustrations
4 b/w illustrations