Throughout the past forty years various leaders from both major political parties in Australia have categorized the arrival by boat of people seeking asylum as a “crisis” and the people themselves as “illegal.” This is despite Australia being a signatory to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and receiving relatively few people who seek asylum compared with many other countries. Punitive government policies and processes have further reinforced these representations, such that “crisis” and “illegal” can now be understood as both categories of analysis and practice. The repeated use of such categories may be helping to produce and reproduce prejudice and racism and obscure the needs and experiences of people seeking asylum.
Leisy J. Abrego
This chapter analyzes President Obama and his Administration’s construction of Central American migrants as a crisis. Based on a close reading of letters to Congress, governmental Fact Sheets, speeches, and other written documents of the administration, the chapter argues that the language that initially established violence against migrants as the crux of the crisis simultaneously erased the role of the United States in supporting the conditions that are expelling migrants from their homelands. The faulty logic during a purported moment of crisis, moreover, made it possible to propose family detention centers and ramped-up enforcement as the main solutions. Central American refugees, therefore, are left with only their bodies to resist and to draw attention to the true crises: US intervention and nation-states’ long-term unwillingness to enforce human rights protections in the region.
Although the concept of “charismatic” leaders is commonplace in political discourse, many academics hold that the notion is vague and these leaders’ alleged appeal to voters untestable. This chapter sets out a conceptualization of such leaders, focusing on radical mission, personal presence, symbiotic hierarchy, and Manichean demonization. It then considers four broad theories about why charismatic leaders have notable effects (and why the radical right gathers support): socioeconomic change and crisis, political opportunity structures, cultural legitimation, and psychological affinities. While it is important not to overstate the powers of most leaders, the chapter concludes by arguing that we need to appreciate the role of “coterie” charisma over an inner core, helping to keep parties together. Moreover, charismatic leaders exert a centripetal appeal, particularly to authoritarians and/or those least interested in politics, creating a more differentiated following than the affective bond stressed in the classic Weberian model.
Celia McMichael, Carol Farbotko, and Karen E. McNamara
There is widespread understanding that migration can represent an adaptive response to emerging and realized climate threats. However, the concept of “migration as adaptation” positions vulnerable populations as adaptive agents who can and even must migrate in response to climate change impacts, despite their often negligible contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. The Pacific islands region is widely viewed as an iconic site of climate change impacts and subsequent climate migration risk. This chapter discusses three Pacific countries—Fiji, Tuvalu, and Kiribati—and explores how people and government officials in these countries respond to the dynamic discursive, policy, social, and biophysical domains of “migration as climate change adaptation.”
John R. Campbell
In sharp contrast to the sense of a “migrant crisis” which prevails in Europe, nation states in the Horn of Africa understand migration, including state-induced population displacement, as unexceptional. The chapter addresses this apparent paradox by contrasting European policy discourse on migration with the long-term political and structural processes in northeastern Africa that cause population displacement and migration. The chapter then examines the migration policies of governments in the Horn and concludes by arguing that the European Union misrepresents and misunderstands the factors responsible for large-scale migration and the role of states in exploiting migrants. For these reasons it is highly unlikely that the EU-Horn of Africa Action Plan/Khartoum process will bring about better border management policies and practices.
This chapter examines the criminalization of asylum seekers arriving irregularly into Canada and the human rights implications of this process, in particular the Designated Foreign National (DFN) policy established in 2012 and the increased role of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in the refugee system. These changes exemplify the crisis-led management by the previous Conservative government as a reaction to the 2009 and 2010 boat arrivals of nearly 600 Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka. The specific objectives of the policy amendments are scrutinized to determine whether their stated goals are being achieved. The chapter draws on interviews conducted between October 2015 and May 2017 in three major provinces (Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia) that host the majority of asylum seekers in Canada.
This chapter explores the mechanisms and underlying socioeconomic causes of the forced migrations that attended the decolonization of Southeast Asia. It is argued that these migrations share many characteristics with those in the wake of dissolution of the empires of the European continent after the First World War. Unlike in Europe, however, most of the displacements remained under the radar of the international refugee agencies even if they entailed harrowing conditions and human suffering. Expulsion of colonial elites to Europe, China, or Japan were rubricized as repatriations rather than international migrations, even if they involved migrants having to leave for countries they had never seen before. For most of the decolonization era that extended well into the 1970s, only international refugee diasporas were identified as migration crises. They were nonetheless just the tip of the iceberg of all the displacements that attended the decades of decolonization and nation building. It is only since the 1990s that internal displacements in Southeast Asia have become defined as migration crises as part of global turn on this subject.
Christiane Fröhlich and Silja Klepp
So-called “climate migration” has been presented as a phenomenon causing a multitude of crises on different levels, in the worst case leading to political instability and violence. Oceania is considered a prime example for this assumed linear causality, since sea level rise is threatening to displace large numbers of people. The chapter outlines how global warming impacts migration crises in the Pacific region, focusing on securitization tendencies and critically inquiring into who defines what a crisis is. In order to understand the underlying logic of climate change securitization in the field of human mobility in Oceania, it is necessary to uncover relevant power structures which determine a) who defines what can be considered a (migration) crisis, b) how human mobility challenges preestablished ideas of citizenship, belonging and national identity, and c) how climate change figures in these topical fields and political processes.
The topic of ethics and migration crises has two dimensions. First, there are questions in the ethics of representation. Media, pundits, and researchers frequently describe large-scale migration as a crisis with insufficient attention to the cogency of the crisis label or the ethical issues it raises. Second, migration crises give rise to duties not to deprive people of their rights to seek safety and asylum, to protect people deprived of their rights, and to aid migrants in crisis situations. There are ways in which receiving countries are playing a role in causing migration crises through their foreign and economic policies and their attempts to restrict migration, and they instead have obligations to aid.
The literature on the radical right’s electorate offers a plethora of potential explanations as to why people vote for the radical right. This chapter organizes the presumptive causes of right-wing voting along the lines of the familiar micro-meso-macro scheme, focusing both on a number of landmark studies and on some of the latest research. In doing so, it weighs the evidence in favor of and against some prominent hypotheses about the conditions for radical right party success, including the pure-protest hypothesis, the charismatic-leader hypothesis, and the silent-counterrevolution hypothesis. It also discusses the existing knowledge on the effects of a host of meso- and macro-level factors, and points out some directions for further research. The chapter concludes that radical right mobilization is now the rule rather than the exception, and that we should perhaps focus on understanding why it is not successful in some cases.