The Label ‘Refugee’ and its Impacts on Border Policies

  • Claude Beaupre University of Victoria
  • Franziska Fischer


In this paper the authors adopt a constructivist approach to explain the efforts of reborderisation following the so-called ‘Refugee Crisis’ unfolding in the European Union after a sharp influx of refugees in 2015. One of the core principles of the European Union, the freedom of movement, is heavily challenged, through the perception of security threats and economic burden that is associated with the arrival of people seeking asylum in large numbers. Through a discourse analysis centring around the label ‘refugee’, which experienced a shift in meaning, this paper aims to display the driving social force that catalysed political actions to reintroduce borders between European Union Member States as a tool to recreate the illusion of control over the influx of people. Germany and France, as pioneers of the principle of freedom of movement in Europe, serve as empirical case studies for the efforts to reinstate control through reborderisation.