New open access book: ‘Asylum Determination in Europe – Ethnographic Perspectives’

I’m pleased to announce the publication of a new open access book entitled ‘Asylum Determination in Europe – Ethnographic Perspectives’ edited by Nick Gill and Anthony Good and published in the Palgrave Macmillan socio-legal studies book series.

Drawing on 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.

Introduction (html) (pdf)

Nick Gill and Anthony Good

Legal Overview (html) (pdf)

Sarah Craig and Karin Zwaan

Part I: Actors

The “Inner Belief ” of French Asylum Judges (html) (pdf)

Carolina Kobelinsky

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

Massimiliano Spotti

The World of Home Office Presenting Officers (html) (pdf)

John R. Campbell

Asylum Procedures in Greece: The Case of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Minors (html) (pdf)

Chrisa Giannopoulou and Nick Gill

Part II Communication

Why Handling Power Responsibly Matters: The Active Interpreter Through the Sociological Lens (html) (pdf)

Julia Dahlvik

Communicative Practices and Contexts of Interaction in the Refugee Status Determination Process in France (html) (pdf)

Robert Gibb

Narrating Asylum in Camp and at Court (html) (pdf)

Matilde Skov Danstrøm and Zachary Whyte

Interactions and Identities in UK Asylum Appeals: Lawyers and Law in a Quasi-Legal Setting (html) (pdf)

Jessica Hambly

Part III Decision-Making

What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Credibility? Refugee Appeals in Italy (html) (pdf)

Barbara Sorgoni

Making the Right Decision: Justice in the Asylum Bureaucracy in Norway (html) (pdf)

Tone Maia Liodden

Taking the ‘Just’ Decision: Caseworkers and Their Communities of Interpretation in the Swiss Asylum Office (html) (pdf)

Laura Affolter, Jonathan Miaz and Ephraim Poertner

Becoming a Decision-Maker, or: “Don’t Turn Your Heart into a Den of Thieves and Murderers” (html) (pdf)

Stephanie Schneider

Conclusion (html) (pdf)

Nick Gill

The whole book is available as a .pdf here:


Nick Gill
Professor of Human Geography
University of Exeter

Current Project: Fair and Consistent Asylum Appeals in Europe (ASYFAIR)

The Suppression of Welcome