November 6, 2019 - 12:00 pm



Koc University Rumelifeneri Campus, Faculty of Social Sciences Building, SOS143   View map

MiReKoc Seminar Series of Fall 2019 continues with Sevda M. Tunaboylu’s presentation on ‘Lack of protection and limited ways out: how asylum seekers cope with liminality on the Greekislands?’. The presentation and discussion will take place on Wednesday, November 13th, 2019, at 12:00, in SOS143. Registration is required for participants not affiliated with Koç University.

Title: Lack of protection and limited ways out: how asylum seekers cope with liminality on the Greek

Abstract: This article focuses on the experiences of asylum seekers who have become stuck in the Greek islands after the EU-Turkey statement of March 2016, and their coping strategies. We conceptualize the islands as liminal spaces where asylum seekers are in between nation states and their jurisdiction. Based on 30 in-depth semi structured interviews with asylum seekers and participatory observations on the islands of Lesbos and Chios between July and August 2017, we explore the impacts of restrictive policies on the asylum seekers and the ways they deal with liminality. By demonstrating several coping strategies, our findings show that the restrictive policies do not deter asylum seekers from arriving to the islands and/or planning to move on. Our findings also show that combinations of factors facilitate or hinder a secondary movement from the islands. However, unlike the common assumption of those who wait through containment as deserving refugees and those who move on as undeserving migrants, we argue that the asylum claim or legal status is not determinative. In this way, the research challenges the discursive categorisation of asylum seekers as being either deserving or not based on the way they deal with waiting in the Greek islands.

Short-bio: Sevda is a PhD candidate at Pompeu Fabra University and a member of research groups GRITIM and DEMOSOC. Currently, she is doing research on refugees’ decision making processes regarding secondary movement in transit, primarily focusing on Turkey and Greece.  She has experience in consultancy research on evidence-based assessment of migration deals and the impacts on migrant and refugee rights. She holds a research master degree on Migration Studies at University of Pompeu Fabra (2017) and completed another master degree on Social Development Practice at University College London (2015) as a Jean Monnet scholar. Previously, she completed her BSc on Political Science and International Relations Department at Bogazici University (2013).