Frontex and the right to seek asylum - A critical discourse analysis

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Frontex and the right to seek asylum - A critical discourse analysis

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Publication 1-year master student thesis
Title Frontex and the right to seek asylum - A critical discourse analysis
Author(s) López Åkerblom, Alicia
Date 2015
English abstract
The European Union’s border control agency, Frontex, was established in 2004. Since its founding it has received ongoing critique from international human rights organizations stating that it prevents people from claiming their right to seek asylum. Therefore, the aim of this study is to understand how Frontex legitimizes its approach to the management of the union’s external borders in relation to the right to seek asylum. The theoretical framework of the thesis consist of Michel Foucault’s theories of power and knowledge structures in institutional discourse, which helps understand how the discourse is determined by power relations and consequently how Frontex legitimizes its work. A critical discourse analysis was conducted following Norman Fairclough’s three-dimensional model. The model consist of a text analysis, an interpretation and a contextualization of the text. The material analyzed is a report produced by Frontex to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The results show that Frontex describes its relation to human rights with words that have a positive connotation such as ‘protect’ and ‘respect’, and at the same time aim to legitimize its work in technical terms of ‘development’ and ‘effectiveness’. The results indicate that the knowledge produced in the report dehumanizes migrants and asylum seekers in order for Frontex to treat migration as a legal and technical issue. Furthermore, Frontex partially legitimizes its work by regularly referring to the UN and other NGO’s while emphasizing their previous support of the institution’s work. These power relations influence how Frontex chooses to discursively legitimize its work in respect to human rights. The results of this study only reflect Frontex’s legitimization in the aforementioned report and cannot be generalized to the whole institution. However, it contributes to the knowledge which may improve the situation for those in need to exercise their right to seek asylum.
Publisher Malmö högskola/Kultur och samhälle
Pages 36
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Frontex
right to seek asylum
critical discourse analysis
human rights
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