Refugee Studies and Politics

A book review of “Refugee Studies and Politics – Human Dimensions and Response Perspectives” by Susanne Binder and Jelena Tosic.

This paper reviews this book which creates a new focus on refugee studies, especially in the context of the former Yugoslavia and Austria, which were badly hit by a sudden inflow of people affected by the conflicts in the Balkans. It highlights the shortcomings of existent approaches towards refugees and provides a sense of direction for the future European policies dealing with asylum seekers in order to avoid mistakes of the past.
“The Western world has been addressing the issues of settlement facilitation and integration of a growing number of refugees for some time now. These policies have, to some considerable degree, been associated with ambiguity, complexity and contention. As a matter of principle, the refugee as a category implies the right to special protection, including a possibility of social integration. In practice, however, integration is assessed in accordance with the situation in receiving country and compatibility of refugees’ and local cultures. Thus it takes the willingness of both groups to adjust.”