In December 2019, Prof. Nick Gill has presented a paper at the workshop “Emerging notions in geographical research on forced migration and borders” at the University of Luxembourg, hosted by Léa Lemaire, Lucas Oesch (University of Luxembourg) and the AYFAIR team member Lorenzo Vianelli (University of Exeter).
On the Productivity of the Critique of Inconsistency: Rethinking Institutional and Everyday Differences in Asylum Appeals in Europe
Prof. Nick Gill & Dr. Nicole Hoellerer (ASYFAIR), University of Exeter, UK
This paper examines how the critique of inconsistency of the Common European Asylum System is productive of the very system it decries. We draw on detailed fieldwork on asylum appeal hearings in France, the UK, Germany and Italy between 2017-2019 to establish the impossibility of consistent decisions and procedures between member states. Such an impulse towards consistency is nonetheless productive of various features of the emerging super-state asylum system. First, by visualising a homogenous and smooth European space, it supports distant forms of centralised governance and intervention. Second, it elides consistency with fairness. Our fieldwork demonstrates that consistency of procedure is regularly taken to imply fairness by legal elites making sharper forms of critique from these same elites less likely. The critique of inconsistency is therefore active in mobilising new configurations of exclusionary, centralised European asylum governance and law.
Keywords: inconsistency; consistency; asylum courts; asylum adjudication; legal ethnography; legal procedures