• Le Lykke Nielsen
4. semester, Global Refugee Studies, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
This thesis addresses the Danish national responses to the increased influx of displaced people in the eye of the contemporary global refugee crisis. On one hand, it examines the refugee policy implemented by the Danish government with focus on deterrence measures. On the other side of the equation it addresses the contestation of this political line amongst different civil society actors. Deterrence measures have been absolute central in the way the Danish state has sought to manage the challenge of an increased number of asylum-seekers. The government recently enacted a new Asylum Deal, which entails 34 restrictions and aim at stemming the influx of refugees. Secondly, it published an information campaign in Lebanese newspapers in order to warn to-be refugees about the restrictions and thereby deter them from coming to Denmark. Contrary to the restrictive policies pursued at state level, civil society actors have emerged in support of refugees throughout Denmark engaging in various strategies ranging from discursive disputes to civil disobedience. By taking point of departure in three different cases this study explores how civil society actors contest the deterrence policy of the state towards refugees by examining the different components and dynamics, which conform the people involved; their motivations, visions and more importantly how they challenge the situation affecting them. Hereby, it becomes possible to explore the contestation of the dominating political discourse and direction when it comes to refugees. The three cases at focus include what I have termed ‘The Propaganda War over Refugees’, which covers the intense public debate that emerged as a response to the government’s proclamation of running ads in Lebanese newspapers. Moreover, it deals with the phenomenon of the ‘civil human smuggler’, which concerns the trend of ordinary citizens transporting asylum-seekers across the Danish borders. Finally, it includes the network ‘Welcome to Denmark’ functioning as a platform for numerous subgroups involved in different activities related to refugee advocacy. Building upon a theoretical framework involving the management of displaced people, civil society and political activism on social media and using case study as the research method this paper asks why these selected civil society groups contest the Danish state’s policies of refugee deterrence and which strategies they use. The empirical data used to examine the counteractions carried out by the civil society actors is made up by a diverse collection and includes communication and interactions in diverse Facebook groups, which provide the main forum for planning and coordinating their steps. Moreover, it contains secondary interviews with spokespersons to the different initiatives, press releases about the activities carried out as well as different articles concerning the struggle of the activists for a more humane asylum policy. It also involves observations from different demonstrations as well as public meetings. The main findings suggest that the contestation of the government’s deterrence policy is more than a humanitarian concern to help refugees but is multidimensional and evolves around complex struggles over identity, morality and politics. By exploring these struggles in detail, this thesis seeks to contribute both to the literature about civil society and to the current debate on refugees.
Udgivelsesdato1 apr. 2016
Antal sider65
ID: 230745368