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The Use and Abuse of Political Asylum in Britain and Germany

Liza Schuster 
Frank Cass Publisher (March 2003)

It is argued that political asylum in Europe has been used and abused by governments with minimal regard for the protection of those who seek asylum. This book combines an analysis of asylum from a historical and conceptual perspective with a comparative study of British and German asylum and refugee policies. 

The Use and Abuse of Political Asylum in Britain and Germany is an interdisciplinary work, bringing together sociological, political and policy perspectives. In the first of two parts, the parallel evolution of asylum and the state system is outlined. Theoretical approaches to the study of forced migration and migration more generally are then considered, and an overview of the significance of refugees and asylum within political and international political theory is offered. 

The second part then seeks to apply some of these arguments by examining the construction of policies in Britain and Germany, arguing that policy, whether towards greater openness or restriction, is constrained by the nature of these states qua liberal democratic nation states. The importance for policy of the similarities and differences between these two states is evaluated. 

The different challenges raised by asylum seekers - to the nation state, the welfare state and liberal democracies - are discussed, as are the reasons why states continue to grant asylum. This book covers a topic that is of direct relevance in current political debates in Europe and elsewhere.

Ends

Contact Dr Liza Schuster, LSE, on 020 7955 7648

The Use and Abuse of Political Asylum in Britain and Germany is published by Frank Cass on 20 March 2003. 0 7146 4606 7 hardback £45.00; 0 7146 8414 7 paperback £18.50

For further information or a review copy contact Amna Whiston, Frank Cass, on 020 8920 2100, email: awhiston@frankcass.com| 

Notes:

Comments on The Use and Abuse of Political Asylum in Britain and Germany:

John Solomos, professor of sociology, City University, London: 'The question of asylum has become one of the key issues confronting societies across western Europe at the present time. Yet we have little understanding of the ways in which this question has emerged to occupy such an important place in our political culture. Liza Schuster's penetrating account of the situation in Britain and Germany is therefore to be welcomed, both for its analytical clarity and historical depth and for the impassioned attempt to place the current situation in a broader context. This book should become required reading for anyone wanting to get to grips with a question that is likely to shape all of our lives in the period to come.'

Michael Welch, associate professor, Rutgers University, USA and author of Detained: immigration laws and the expanding INS jail complex: 'Liza Schuster presents a sophisticated critique of the prevailing ideologies underpinning state practices on asylum, refusing to accept as inevitable or just the existing systems that perpetuate human rights violations. Schuster demonstrates that the growing number of asylum seekers and refugees is an indication of a problem with the system, not simply a problem for the system. Armed with compelling historical and contemporary evidence, Schuster issues a forceful argument calling for a radical rethinking of the politics of asylum and refuge. Sharply conceived and superbly written, this book transcends debates in Britain and Germany to other nations grappling with their own policies on asylum.'

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