In April 2018 Professor Nick Gill was invited to give a public lecture at the University of Neuchâtel on the topic of ‘Asylum Determination in Europe: Ethnographic Perspectives’. More information on the lecture can be found here. The abstract of the lecture can be read below.
Abstract. How are claims for international protection under asylum law from some of the most marginalized people in the world being handled in Europe? This lecture adopts an ethnographic approach to this question, drawing on a collection of ethnographies of asylum determination soon to be published as an edited book. Ethnography of asylum determination offers a window into a complex, obfuscated and politicized area of law that is central to foundational debates about the viability of the European Union and the moral obligations that Western developed states owe to vulnerable outsiders. Ethnographic approaches to law have the potential to destabilize hidden assumptions and reveal concealed inconsistencies in legal processes and concepts. Laws tend to give the impression of coherence and uniformity, which can be misleading, and unraveled by careful, intensive observation. Asylum determination in Europe faces the tension between fairness and efficiency, and between consistency and variety, among plenty of other challenges. By examining these tensions from a range of disciplinary viewpoints, it is possible to lay bare the confusion, improvisation, inconsistency, complexity and emotional turmoil inherent to the process.