An Asylum Seeker’s Time between Being a “Refugee” and a “Migrant"

  • Ervin Shehu University of the Aegean


The aim of this article is to investigate the asylum process based on the experiences of asylum seekers. Two axes of the asylum procedure are examined: a) the interview and b) the decisions produced by the asylum committees on the requests. The text argues that, in order to understand the construction of the category of asylum seekers on the one hand and the institutional practices and forms of their control and management on the other, these two dimensions should be considered together. The interview process is based on the articulation of speech, while the decision constitutes an element of a written text document. Since there is no decision without the interview, the objective is to trace the practices and methods through which the meaning of the text of the decision is produced and the form of the speech narrative that asylum seekers are required to deliver in front of asylum committees. The research took place in Athens ,Greece, from January 2018 until July 2019.


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Author Biography

Ervin Shehu, University of the Aegean

Ervin Shehu is a PhD research fellow at the University of the Aegean, Department of Social Anthropology and History. He has recently finished a three-year research program on the settlement and unofficial reception policies in Greece related to asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants, primarily from the Middle East and South Asia. His research focuses on the integration of these newcomers into everyday life in Athens, with a particular emphasis on the ways in which co-ethnic religious and social networks facilitate this process through various forms of support provision. Moreover, his research posits the process of reception and hospitality as an reciprocal “gift-giving” practice between “host” (local) and “guest” (foreigner), analyzing this from the points of view of both migrants and stakeholders (i.e. organizations).