The European Union and the refugee “crisis”: Inclusion, challenges, and responses

Rahul Sambaraju, Chris McVittie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

For community and applied social psychology, issues of group memberships and intergroup relations in real-world settings are central concerns. One particular focus of study has been that of how the construction of social groups to delineate the criteria that distinguish members and potential members from nonmembers. Nowhere is this more so than in relation to nations and the attribution of national identities. As Condor (2000) notes, a reference to national identity functions to include certain people while simultaneously excluding those who do not meet the criteria that have been specified. The outcome of this, in so far as regards nations, is that we come to understand the world around us in terms of nations/nation-states and wider transnational collectives (Billig, 1995; Condor, 2000). The specific forms of these groups of course changes over time: events following the vote by U.K. citizens on June 23, 2016, to leave the European Union (EU) point to the sorts of changes that can occur. Yet notwithstanding that the precise forms of nations and transnational entities can change, such changes rarely trouble the recurring understanding of the world around us as comprising a collection of national states with identifiable members, each with their own identities. For individuals who are identified as belonging to a nation state, this routine and pervasive construction of nation states works to confer upon members the entitlements that are commonly associated with membership. At the same time, however, another outcome is the ready identification of “others” as those who do not belong to certain nations and transnational collectives. Those who leave their countries of origin to seek refuge or asylum are routinely treated in these ways in legitimating practices and policies that exclude them from belonging to other nation states and that preclude them the entitlements allowed to members. This special issue brings together social psychological work on the refugee “crisis” in the EU, looking particularly at the inclusion/contingent inclusion/exclusion of those leaving their countries of origin to seek refuge in the EU, how such inclusion or exclusion is warranted or negotiated, and if and how these practices are presented as a “refugee crisis.”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-104
JournalJournal of Community & Applied Social Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date13 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


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