Taking Sides - Protest Against the Deportation of Asylum Seekers

 

Team:

  • Université de Neuchâtel - project leader: Gianni d'Amato, researchers: Didier Ruedin, Dina Bader, Johanna Probst
  • Universität Osnabrück - project leader: Helen Schwenken, researchers: Maren Kirchhoff, David Lorenz

 

Purpose:

“Taking Sides” studies anti-deportation protests in Austria, Switzerland and Germany from a comparative angle, covering a period of 21 years (1993-2013). In particular, the project seeks to explain variation in the goals, forms and degree of protest against the forcible expulsion of asylum seekers from the state territory.

Project duration: Oct. 2013 - Oct. 2017

Funded by the FWF, SNF and DFG as part of the DACH funding scheme. Projekt I 1294


About the project:

The project explores protest against the deportation of rejected asylum seekers in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Deportation has become a central element of immigration control, particularly of asylum seekers whose application has been rejected. At the same time, it can be seen as contradicting the intention of human rights obligations for individuals in need of protection, which raises normative questions related to justice and universal norms vis-à-vis state sovereignty and policy implementation adopted by lawful means.

This tension is reflected by the fact that certain sections of the population and the public have become sensitive towards the forcible expulsion of non-citizens from the state territory. Such feelings of unease and moral outrage manifest themselves in various forms of protest that are directed against the most coercive measure a sovereign state can take.

 

The central aim of the project is to explore and explain the goals, form and degree of diverse anti-deportation protest activities across countries and time (1993-2013). In particular, the project seeks to answer the following research questions:

 

  1. What shapes the trajectories of protest against the deportation of asylum seekers and what is characteristic and even distinct about anti-deportation protest?
  2. How can we explain variation in the goals, forms, and degree of anti-deportation protest, both across countries and over time?

 

The project develops an innovative and integrated perspective by combining different theoretical approaches (political opportunity structure approach and resource mobilization perspective) and considering emotional processes into the analysis. Empirically, the study will be based on newspaper articles about deportation, protest material produced by protest groups and interviews with protesters. In methodological terms, the project combines quantitative and qualitative text analysis with a series of in-depth case studies on individual deportation cases that triggered protest.

 

The project will make an important contribution to the literature on migration and social movements. More specifically, we will assess (a) the role of structural factors vis-à-vis agency and resources and (b) the motivational and strategic functions that emotions play in protest.

 

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Activities and events:

  • Upcoming: Paper Presentation by Miriam Haselbacher at the ECPR General Conference- Universiteit i Oslo (6-9 September 2017).
    Panel: Migration and Social Movements
    Section: Beyond Social Movements: Cross-Field Insights on Contentious Politics.
    Paper: Restrictionist Protest against the Reception of Asylum Seekers in Austria
  • Closing conference of the Taking Sides Project: "Deportations as a Conflicting Issue," University of Osnabrück, September 21/22, 2016 (in cooperation with IMIS - Institut für Migrationsforschung und Interkulturelle Studien).
    • Rosenberger and Merhaut: Politicization from Below: Who Protests Against Deportations? Key Results from a Comparative Quantitative Media-Analysis (1993-2013);
    • Stern (co-jointly with Kirchhoff): What Impedes Deportations? A Comparative Analysis of 15 Case Studies in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
  • Article published in Open Movements/Open Democracy: Sieglinde Rosenberger - Protest against the deportation of asylum seekers
  • Participation at the ECPR General Conference, Prague, September 8, 2016. Rosenberger, Merhaut, Stern: Favoring the Individual Case over Policy Change. Mobilizing Emotions in Austrian Anti-Deportation Protests
  • Participation at the ISA Forum (International Sociological Association) in Vienna, July 11, 2016. Session organized by Atac and Rosenberger: Moving Refugees? Mobilisation and Outcomes of Refugee Movements, Solidarity Groups, and Anti-Asylum Activities. Presenters: Nina Merhaut, Verena Stern
  • Presentation at the University of Konstanz on April 21, 2016 following an invitation of the cluster of excellence "Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration": Sieglinde Rosenberger on "Abschiebung. Bewegt Menschen"
  • Presentation at the lecture series "Ansätze zur Analyse aktueller Umbrüche in Europa"- University of Vienna on December 1, 2016: Miriam Haselbacher on "Taking Sides- Proteste für und gegen Asylwerber_innen"
  • Paper Presentation at the Annual Conference of the Austrian Political Science Association, University of Salzburg, 28th November 2015
  • Hosting a Public Lecture with Priska Daphi (Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main/Europäisches Hochschulinstitut). Title:  Willkommen oder beschimpft? Eine vergleichende Studie der Reaktionen auf Unterkünfte für Asylsuchende
  • Hosting a Public Lecture with Dieter Rucht (WZB) dealing with far-right, populist mobilisation
  • Participation at ECPR Summer School in Methods and Techniques 2015
  • Article about the Taking Sides Project (German)
  • Public Lecture "Flucht nach Europa" by Sieglinde Rosenberger at University of Vienna´s Campus Festival, 14th June 2015
  • Taking Sides goes Campus Festival, 12-14 June 2015, University of Vienna
  • Poster presentation at the 2nd Interdisciplinary Conference on Social Protest, University of Kent, 28-29 March 2014
  • Project meeting, University of Neuchâtel, 12-13 May 2014
  • Paper presentations at the Conference “Doing Deportation”, Freiburg, 17-19 July 2014
  • Paper presentation at the ECPR General Conference 2014, University of Glasgow, 3-6 September 2014
  • Project kick-off meeting at the University of Vienna, 28-29 Oct. 2013

 

Publications:

  • Stern, Verena (2017): Let them stay! Proteste gegen Abschiebungen in Schulen, in: W. Wintersteiner, & S. Zelger (Hrsg.), "Menschen gehen." Flucht und Ankommen: Zeitschrift für den Deutschunterricht in Wissenschaft und Schule, Heft 1, 41. Jahrgang (S. 38-43). Studien Verlag Innsbruck.

  • Ruedin, Didier / Meyer, Sarah (2014): Politicization from Below? The Deportation Issue in Public Discourse in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. Available at SSRN. (Download)
  • Rosenberger, Sieglinde / Winkler, Jakob (2014): Com/passionate protests - fighting the deportation of asylum seekers, in: Mobilization. An International Quarterly 19/2, p. 489-510. (Download)

Media: