• Christina Anna Inninger
4. semester, Udviklingsstudier, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
The unprecedented high number of asylum seekers coming to Germany throughout the years 2015 and 2016 ignited a heated debate on the national level. At the heart of the dispute is the question: which rights should be conceded to asylum seekers?
Right in the middle of it are the German social welfare organizations. On the one hand, they are social monitors and political lobbyists, and therefore one of the major critics of the national asylum system. On the other hand, they provide the public social services for asylum seekers and in doing so, implement the policies they criticize. Among other things, they provide free legal advice for asylum seekers on behalf of the government. By enjoying a high degree of discretion in the execution of their work and providing a public service, these legal advisers are street-level bureaucrats and therefore policy-makers in their own right. Since they are influencing asylum policy, their general attitude towards the system deserves closer attention.
Based on six qualitative interviews conducted with legal advisers for asylum seekers in Berlin, this study seeks to make sense of their stance towards the asylum system. The aims of this research are to explore how legal advisers position themselves vis-á-vis the German asylum system and its actors, how they perceive their role and function as legal advisers, and how their understanding relates to humanitarianism and justice.
By primarily utilizing theoretical assumptions on street-level bureaucracies and social identity, the study addresses how the legal advisers’ personal values and their desire to be good people relate to group affiliation and street-level bureaucratic behavior.
The study notes that the values the legal advisers hold, like altruism, empathy, equality, and justice, have a major impact on their behavior. It stipulates that their professional self-conception is influenced by their values and desire to be good. This manifests itself in client-advocacy on the organizational level and in political lobbying for a migration system based on justice on the national level. However, their esteem of justice ironically prompts them to principally approve of a system based on humanitarianism. The study assesses that their prevalent values have different consequences depending on whose need the legal advisers seek to serve. Since their ideal conception of the national asylum system still corresponds to a system based on justice, they actively dissociate from the system and put themselves in opposition to it. Ultimately, the work as legal advisers enables them to live up to their values and satisfy their desire to identify as good.
SpecialiseringsretningGlobal Refugee Studies
Udgivelsesdato30 jan. 2018
Antal sider64
ID: 268228908