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'Perceiving Italy' : an exploration of asylum-seekers' strategies. The case of Eritrean asylum-seekers.

El Hariri, Alessandra (2017) 'Perceiving Italy' : an exploration of asylum-seekers' strategies. The case of Eritrean asylum-seekers. PhD thesis, University of Essex.


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This thesis is an exploratory study of the way perceptions and emotions shape the agency of asylum seekers. Using Eritrean asylum seekers that travel to Italy and their perceptions of the Italian asylum system as a case study, it explores how perceptions of Italy and its asylum system shape the strategies of Eritrean asylum seekers at different stages of their migration journey. This research went some way towards developing a notion of agency that also takes into account dimensions (such as the importance of perceptions and emotions) that are sometimes overlooked in forced migration studies, thereby contributing (or so I hope) to a more informed and subtle view of asylum seekers’ movements and of their interaction with their surrounding environment. My fieldwork demonstrates that perceptions and emotions play an important role in shaping asylum seeker agency, and that perceptions are heavily influenced by the circulation of rumours among migrants. The first part of the thesis explores the way perceptions about Italy are produced and re-produced in Eritrea (thereby leading to a set of recurrent expectations), as well as the way the identity formation process happening in Eritrea has led to the emergence of peculiar characteristics that are relevant in explaining Eritrean asylum seekers’ strategies for coping with the challenges of the asylum system. The second part of this project focuses on asylum journeys, and specifically on the various trajectories developed by asylum seekers, on the circulation of rumours and on the way perceptions about destination countries evolve. The last part examines the Italian asylum and reception systems and provides some examples of the strategies adopted by asylum seekers to overcome problems and obstacles; it also explores the factors that shape the agency of Eritrean asylum seekers, especially in relation to the Italian asylum system and to the rules of the Dublin Procedure.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: asylum-seekers; refugees; Italy; Eritrea; agency; perceptions; asylum-process
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Alessandra El Hariri
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2018 14:50
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2021 02:00

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