Unraveling the Refugee System

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During the summer of 2015 the amount of people entering Europe reached unprecedented heights. One of Europe’s external borders is the border between Turkey and Bulgaria and in recent years the amount of people crossing this border grew enormously. This research has focused on the system the refugees end up in: the refugee-system, consisting of so many different actors form different scale levels, from inside and outside Bulgaria. How do all these aid workers and journalists, police and politicians, activists and citizens interact, work and cooperate? Drawing form theories concerning rescaling and governance, this thesis investigates the multitude of actors involved in borderwork in Bulgaria. When accepting the notion of borders being everywhere, bordering has to be seen as more than only a matter concerning the state. Borderwork also concerns and involves citizens (and non-citizens) and other non-state actors. The research illustrates how state recalling is only fitfully achieved at the cross-border municipal scale, while at the same time there are ongoing processes of societal bordering within Bulgaria that continue to exclude and marginalize refugee communities, despite the best intentions of local and international NGOs. In terms of migration management the state rescaling literature needs to be rethought at the so-called margins of Europe.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen