Same Same but Different? Challenging Dublin-Deportations in Austria and Germany

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:30
Location: Hörsaal 26 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Helen SCHWENKEN, University of Osnabruck, Germany
Maren KIRCHHOFF, University of Osnabrück, Germany
Verena STERN, University of Vienna, Austria
The paper analyses and compares local contestations of the Dublin system in Austria and Germany. These countries are in the centre of current public debates as many refugees use them as transit or destination countries. Surrounded by other Schengen countries, "Dublin transfers" - or deportations - back to countries where the refugees entered the Schengen area for the first time are a hot issue. For a number of reasons, only around one fifth of all attempted Dublin transfers take place. Besides micro practices of the migrants (ignoring the Dublin regulations) and court rulings at the European level (certain restrictions to send asylum seekers back), 'Dublin' is also contested at the local level through public protests by refugees and supporters. Protests against 'Dublin' are interesting cases, as one common sense in the literature on anti-deportation protest - protests tend to be more frequent and more successful the closer and more numerous their social ties are - cannot be taken for granted, because many of the affected refugees have only come recently and have been living in camps, which makes it difficult to establish social ties.
In two qualitative case studies (Alberschwende/Austria; Osnabrück/Germany), we identify two main differences of the respective protests: first, the involvement of political elites vis-à-vis the lack thereof and the involvement of refugees themselves; second, the use of intermediary protest measures versus a mix of protest forms that combines symbolic action with radical direct action. Against the backdrop of the findings of our quantitative research component (a media analysis of anti-deportation protests from 1993-2013), we discuss whether the differences in terms of protest actors and protest forms can be understood in light of different political cultures and thus as characteristic of anti-deportation protests in Germany and Austria in general.