Reterritorialization of Asylum Policies in Australia and Europe

Garnier, Adele

The PhD project analyses the effect of transformations of asylum policy on the sovereignty of Western countries. Since the 1980s and the increase of applications for asylum in those countries, the number of actors in the field of asylum policy has increased due to Europeanization, internationalization, privatization and regularization. On the other hand, asylum policy is reterritorialized as it follows territorial patterns of mobility control, both within and outside territorial borders. The analysis of the change of governmental sovereignty is based on two questions that are tied to contemporary debates of migration research. Firstly, analysis will be performed to detect whether or not the increase of actors in asylum policy strengthens state actors. The hypothesis of assertion of sovereignty through the involvement of non-state actors, which is often established in policy-oriented migration research, will be examined. Secondly, the effects of reterritorialization of asylum policy – especially towards the outside – on the relationship between law and territory are investigated, with the question being raised whether or not extra-territorial spaces can be regarded as “lawless spaces”. This takes up the philosophical-juridical debate on the importance of “state of exception”-approaches. On the theoretical level, this project tries to base the analysis on a concept of sovereignty that interlinks both aspects of the debate. On the methodological level, the effects of local processes on the change of state sovereignty will be taken into account. The empirical part of the project focuses on asylum policies in Australia and Great Britain, which have been strongly reterritorialized over the past few years. The PhD project by Adele Garnier was funded by the German Research Foundation Research Training Group (GK 1261): “Critical Junctures of Globalization” and will be continued in 2011. The supervisor of the project is Ulf Engel.