About this Project

Mass migrations test the will and capacity of western democracies to “make asylum” in ways that protect human rights, provide the foundations for a new life, and incorporate refugees into host communities. This project probes the making of asylum, closely interrogating how asylum is made through the everyday practices of street-level organizations and how those organizations shape the lived experience of asylum-seekers and the formation of attitudes about democracy and the welfare state. It focuses on Sweden and Denmark, countries known for their humanitarian commitments and strong welfare state protections, yet challenged by a recent surge in asylum-seeking as millions have fled zones of conflict, violence, and persecution. In Scandinavian countries, as elsewhere in Europe, mass migration has produced a “refugee crisis,” provoking deep concerns about the incorporation of newcomers and fueling anti-immigrant and populist opposition. This project investigates the conflicted politics of asylum, developing a theoretical approach that links the macro-politics of the welfare state to the micro-politics of street-level organizations and the lived experience of asylum-seekers. It aims to open new scholarly avenues for the study of human rights, political institutions, and the welfare state and to provide insights into the asylum experience.

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