Articles and Posts from ISQ

While the refugee crisis arising from the Syrian civil war is not new, recent photographs of a drowned baby boy washing up on a Turkish beach have galvanized people from across the globe to address the flood of migrants attempting to get into Europe and the underlying issues forcing them to flee in the first place. The former is currently the more immediate concern, and Europeans are rallying to open up their homes and provide needed relief. The latter, however, not to mention what to do with these refugees once resettled, seems to have utterly stymied the international community. Moreover, while the focus is now turned towards Syria, refugees have been flooding in from all across north and west Africa as well. Below is a compilation of scholarly articles published in International Studies Quarterly that might give readers better insight into how the current tide of goodwill and concern could ultimately play out.

Who are we talking about?

In many ways, baby Aylan is the spark that lit this current interest in Syrian refugees. But does the emotive pull of suffering “women and children” ultimately constrain broader strategies to help all civilian migrants? Or is this just the price migration advocates have to pay? Carpenter (2006)

By engaging with the ethical ramifications of liberal theory in relation to asylum seekers, this article problematizes the very categories by which we understand migration, migrants, asylum seekers, etc., in the first place. Parker & Brassett (2005)


Why risk everything to get to Europe?

As many Syrian refugees have said, parents don’t take children on treacherous and possibly fatal exoduses unless the trip is less dangerous than the conditions from which they are fleeing. But what exactly are the specific circumstances beyond civil war – or perhaps within it – that push people onto the path of migration? Adhikari (2012) looks to subnational data for some answers. 

This study also examines potential determinants in addition to civil wars for asylum seeking migration to Western Europe, and it proposes measures for European governments that might help staunch the flow of refugees. Neumayer (2005)


How does this affect the receiving state(s)?

Partisan differences over letting in more asylum and labor migration are affected by the particular party-labor relationship found in that country. Han (2015)

What have the effects of migration been in the past? Koslowski (2002) goes to the way-back past to show how migration both helped and hurt ancient Greece and Rome. The question: does this translate to the present?

There is a growing call in Europe for allowing Syrian political refugees in while still keeping any "economic refugee" out. This reflects a common perception, particularly among parties of the Right, that most migrants are seeking a better livelihood in Europe at the expense of its existing citizens. Yet, data related to migration in OECD countries does not bear this out. Moore & Shellman (2007)

How to handle a refugee crisis? This is currently at the forefront of many peoples’ minds. Looking to the past Rwanda crisis sheds light on the particular role played by the asylum state based on where that state’s sympathies lie. Zeager (1998)


Underlying causes

Meanwhile, how should the international community address the source of [one of] the problem, the Syrian civil war? The humanitarian aid being pumped in by several Western countries might actually be doing more harm than good. Narang (2015)

Similarly, the assumption that Western powers will not tolerate gross human rights violations (and will therefore intervene) might be influencing rebel groups - who are otherwise ill-equipped for all-out war - to risk more than they can handle, thus worsening their vulnerability and the chance of excessive government retribution. Kuperman (2008)

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Representing 100 countries, ISA has over 6,500 members worldwide and is the most respected and widely known scholarly association in this field. Endeavoring to create communities of scholars dedicated to international studies, ISA is divided into 7 geographic subdivisions of ISA (Regions), 29 thematic groups (Sections) and 4 Caucuses which provide opportunities to exchange ideas and research with local colleagues and within specific subject areas.
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