The Syrian Refugee Crisis
How Democracies and Autocracies Perpetrated Mass Displacement
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The Syrian war, the 21st Century’s most protracted and second-deadliest conflict, has driven 5.6 million refugees and 6.6 million internally displaced into flight. As the civil war draws to a close, an autopsy of this historic and unprecedented refugee episode becomes feasible. Why did the war generate so many refugees? How did so many of them get to Europe? Who are these people, and why did they leave? Whom were they fleeing and why? Did European policymakers alleviate or aggravate the refugee crisis?
Anatomy of a Refugee Crisis argues that Syrian forced migration has been deeply misunderstood. Against conventional wisdom, it suggests that refugees engaged smugglers not just as traffickers or criminal exploiters, but as natural allies and means to affirm asylum rights; that the politicization of refugees according to major actors’ foreign policy priorities obfuscated the role of U.S. and European foreign policy in generating massive displacement; and that restrictionist border policies on the Balkan Route were inhumane, incoherent and counter-productive. Relying on extensive, rare fieldwork data from five countries comprising the Balkan Route (Jordan, Turkey, Greece, Serbia and Germany), this book sheds light on the understudied, counter-intuitive and often-misunderstood dynamics of forced migration, refugee agency, border restrictionism, anti-smuggling policy, and migrant decision-making in the 21st Century.
Table of Contents
List of Tables and Figures
- Drivers of displacement
- The people and the journey
- Streamlining misery
- Shifted risk
Danilo Mandić is a Associate Senior Lecturer at Harvard University.