Refugee crisis analysed in new project

22 november 2017

Was the 2015 refugee crisis a crisis of refugees in itself, or a question of the EU’s internal borders, political polarisation and inadequate crisis management? In a new research project funded by EU Horizon 2020 and led from Uppsala University, this issue will be examined from the starting point of 11 different countries and through 14 different partners, including participants from Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey.

The project, “RESPOND – Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond”, comprises eight research modules concerning refugees in the EU countries and Turkey as well as consensus in a number of areas: policy, border management, refugee protection, reception, integration, European identity, a comparison and summary of these areas, and a questionnaire study.

“In the matter of integration, which is one of the larger modules, we are focusing on the role of religion as a resource, citizenship, housing, education and work as well as psychosocial health,” says Önver Cetrez, scientific coordinator for the project and Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Theology at Uppsala University.

Linking actors and interviewing refugees

The researchers intend to look more closely at the complexity in the reception of refugees in the countries included in the project and to bring together different social actors at different levels of society. The project will also establish communication links between these actors by applying innovative methods such as round table discussions with various social actors and ‘Advice Hubs’. At least sixty refugees in each country will be interviewed, primarily from the Middle East, Asia and North Africa.

“In order to understand such a far-reaching issue, we will study the refugees’ source, transit and destination countries,” says Cetrez. “This will be done through both qualitative and quantitative methods. The influence of local actors in the reception of refugees is a key contribution to this research, as of course is listening to the refugees’ own stories.”

Refugees as knowledge conveyors

The project seeks to highlight the refugees as knowledge conveyors through their own participation in data production, for example through ‘photovoice’, art exhibitions and a documentary film.

In addition to scientific articles, books and conferences, the project will also result in reports consisting of policy guidelines, reports with information on specific countries and comparisons between countries, ethical guidelines and comparative quantitative data.

The project is being coordinated by Uppsala University and is based at the Religion and Society Research Centre at Uppsala University.

Participating partners in the project are, in addition to Uppsala University, The Glasgow Caledonian University, Georg-August-Universitat Gottingenstiftung Offentlichen Rechts, The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge, Istanbul Bilgi University, Svenska Forskningsinstitutet i Istanbul, Özyegin Universitesi, Universita Degli Studi di Firenze, Panepistimio Aigaiou, Oesterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Kobenhavns universitet, Lebanon Support, and Hammurabi Human Rights Organization.

RESPOND – Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond, will be carried out from December 2017 – November 2020.