© 2019

Asylum Determination in Europe

Ethnographic Perspectives

  • Nick Gill
  • Anthony Good
  • Provides a timely examination of the asylum process, exposing the the gaps and differences between policy and legislation in writing and in law as it is practiced

  • Draws on new material from ten European countries

  • Employs sociological, anthropological, geographical and linguistic perspectives

Open Access

Part of the Palgrave Socio-Legal Studies book series (PSLS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Nick Gill, Anthony Good
    Pages 1-26 Open Access
  3. Sarah Craig, Karin Zwaan
    Pages 27-49 Open Access
  4. Actors

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 51-51
    2. Carolina Kobelinsky
      Pages 53-68 Open Access
    3. John R. Campbell
      Pages 91-108 Open Access
    4. Chrisa Giannopoulou, Nick Gill
      Pages 109-130 Open Access
  5. Communication

  6. Decision-Making

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 219-219
    2. Laura Affolter, Jonathan Miaz, Ephraim Poertner
      Pages 263-284 Open Access
    3. Nick Gill
      Pages 307-318 Open Access
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 319-335

About this book


Drawing on new 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.


greece italy asylum seekers EU European Union refugee borders immigration security socio-legal citizenship political sociology Open Access sociology of citizenship

Editors and affiliations

  • Nick Gill
    • 1
  • Anthony Good
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of ExeterExeterUK
  2. 2.University of EdinburghEdinburghUK

About the editors

Nick Gill is Professor of Human Geography, University of Exeter, UK.

Anthony Good is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Bibliographic information


“The moral panic evoked by cross-border movement is inevitably accompanied by a lack of knowledge about what ‘determining asylum’ actually entails. This book fills the gap. It covers a wide range of European settings and looks at the nuts and bolts of that process from a variety of disciplinary standpoints, revealing its contradictions with fine-grained ethnographic nuance.” (Deborah James, London School of Economics, UK)