Finding Real and Fake Explanations

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This chapter concerns claims to asylum in Europe and explores why almost all claims succeed during certain periods, whereas almost all claims fail during other periods. Although the explanations given for justifying the claim to asylum appear to be strikingly similar in different periods, and although the world has not become any safer than it was when claims were more successful, the number of successful claims vary dramatically from period to period. The chapter argues that a particular understanding of borders and territory generates a sense of contradiction whenever the number of claims to asylum rises to a level that makes them appear to cease to be exceptional to the authorities processing the claims: once the numbers appear to be so high as to be 'normal' rather than exceptional, there is a much higher tendency to suspect that the claim is false. The chapter notes that there has been no occasion when the number of asylum seekers to a European country has made any statistically significant difference to the overall population of the country; the issue concerns a perception of frequency of claims by the authorities processing the claims, rather than any statistically significant frequency.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBeyond description : anthropologies of explanation
EditorsPaolo Heywood, Matei Candea
Number of pages19
Place of PublicationIthaca (New York)
PublisherCornell University Press
Publication date1 Nov 2023
Pages181-200
ISBN (Print)9781501771576, 9781501771569
ISBN (Electronic)9781501771590, 9781501771583
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Fields of Science

  • 5143 Social and cultural anthropology
  • Migration
  • Asylum
  • border studies
  • Explanation

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