Journal Article

Constructing the Refugee Figure in France: Ethnomethodology of a Decisional Process

Jean-Philippe Dequen

in International Journal of Refugee Law

Volume 25, issue 3, pages 449-469
Published in print October 2013 | ISSN: 0953-8186
Published online October 2013 | e-ISSN: 1464-3715 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijrl/eet035
Constructing the Refugee Figure in France: Ethnomethodology of a Decisional Process

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Human Rights and Immigration
  • Refugee Studies

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

This article centres on the decisional process in the administration of asylum law in France, as applied by the institutions of the Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) and the National Court of Asylum (CNDA) on the appellate level. It focuses on the recognition of the status of political refugee and subsidiary protection. Its starting point is the growing criticism this procedure faces, both from human rights groups and legal practitioners. It is based on a dual approach. First, analysing relevant legislation and case law, it explains why, from a positivist legal perspective, the process can sometimes be perceived as arbitrary and random; the reasons being the indeterminacy of international law on the matter, and the inability of the courts to propose a unified and accepted interpretation. Second, this study demonstrates that, despite this legal insecurity, the process is not as irrational as it may seem. This conclusion is based on anthropological fieldwork consisting of a qualitative sample of hearings at the CNDA, and twelve interviews with lawyers, interpreters, protection officers from OFPRA and rapporteurs from the Court, carried out between March and May 2010. Using the paradigm of ethnomethodology, this article contends that the current decisional process follows a consistent logic, founded on ‘common sense’ and an inter-subjective narrative construction between the asylum seeker and his administrative counterpart. The legal aspect of the decision is only a surface veneer, rather than the constitutive body of reasoning behind it.

Journal Article.  10044 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration ; Refugee Studies

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content. subscribe or login to access all content.