The Rationales behind Danish Externalization Visions

Studenteropgave: Kandidatspeciale og HD afgangsprojekt

  • Boris Cederholm
4. semester, Global Refugee Studies, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Externalization has emerged in Denmark as a policy field championed by the largest party in the country. Since 2018, the Social Democratic Party has promoted plans to expedite asylum processing in extraterritorial reception centers in a third country, and in 2021 the Danish government signed a memorandum of understanding with Rwanda, building the foundations for a relationship in which Denmark compensates Rwanda for accommodating its asylum seekers while their application is processed. Though the policy is still in its early stages and the memorandum contains no binding agreements, the turn to this type of policy reflects broader changes in the view of asylum seekers and migrants and the policy field. The recent externalization proposal has moved the idea from the periphery to the center of the political debate.
This thesis draws on the perspectives of Foucault and Carol Bacchi, employing the latter’s WPR (What is the problem represented to be) approach to policy analysis in order to explore the problematizations of refugees within the political discourse. Understanding the policy field of asylum as a discursive terrain, the analysis seeks to illuminate the unexamined ways of thinking behind the externalization proposal by interrogating the arguments for meaning, categorizations, dichotomies, rationales, and assumed truths. The policy analysis will additionally draw on Scheider and Ingram’s approach to understanding categorization in policy design to analyze how asylum seekers are divided into deserving or undeserving groups.

Specifically, the thesis will investigate how humanitarian and securitization discourses interplay with each other, constructing refugees as victims and threats at different times. The government’s plan is enabled through an argument that harnesses empathy, morality, feelings of compassion, and justice to push for drastic changes in the international asylum system. The analysis is based on paragraph 20 questions in the Danish parliament, political speeches, and the Social Democratic Party political program on asylum from 2018 “Fair and realist.”
The current externalization plans are shown to be underpinned by various ingrained rationales. These rationales are investigated by asking how the ‘problem’ of asylum seekers as presented in the externalization plans has been produced, what rationalities lie at its core, and how the representation of the ‘problem’ has come about.
Antal sider40
ID: 532343482