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Johan Ekstedt, PhD Student, Malmö University

Disscusant: Bridget Anderson, Professor, University of Bristol

Frontline bureaucrats working with asylum at the EU’s external borders have been given an extraordinarily difficult task. With an immense work load, a complex legal system and constant political pressure for more restrictive implementation of asylum policies, they are asked to uphold the fundamental values of the EU and ensure equal and fair treatment of each individual asylum seeker. Limited resources, constant changes in law and the profoundly disturbing conditions in European refugee camps leads to high levels of stress and a gulf between the ideal model of implementation and actual practice.

The core aim of this thesis is to investigate how norms and values are developed inside organizations working under these conditions. With a theoretical starting point in New Institutionalism and Street Level Bureaucracy Theory, I investigate these questions through semi-structured interviews and face-to-face surveys with personnel at the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Greece and Italy.

 In this seminar I will present the initial research findings from my interviews with EASO Case workers in Greece in late 2019 and early 2020. The seminar-text is an overview of all sections of my doctoral thesis, including theory, methods, text-analysis and some preliminary findings derived from the first round of interviews in the field. An overview of the two cases under study is provided, as well as an outline of the research plan moving forward.

The seminar will be held in English and online. Would you like to participate, send an email to

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