”Under the hood” of the European Union Agency for Asylum: A study of bureaucratic structures, institutional arrangements and frontline caseworkers
- Contact person:
- Johan Ekstedt
- Malmö University – Faculty of Culture and Society
- Responsible at MaU:
- Johan Ekstedt
- Time frame:
- 03 September 2018 - 14 June 2024
- Research environment :
- Research subject:
The overarching topic of this thesis is the content and impact of the European Union Agency for Asylum’s (EUAA) bureaucratic support to European Union (EU) Member States. In particular, the thesis investigates how the bureaucratic structures influence how caseworkers and other personnel perform their duties. Delving into the various aspects of this topic, several subthemes emerge, including the question of supranational governance, legal developments, implementation of policy, the institutionalisation of bureaucratic practices, discretionary decision-making, ethical dilemmas, and the personal experiences of individual caseworkers.
The four articles that form the thesis cover four distinct research questions, with some significant overlap. In particular, the first two articles relate closely to the experience of frontline staff, in relation to the question of ethical conduct in bureaucratic organizations. Thus, these articles engage with the literature on policy implementation in general and Street Level Bureaucracy theory, in particular. The third article is different in nature, as it delves into the legal, political, and organizational aspects on how the current system could be reformed, and the possibility of granting more decision-making authority to the EUAA. This article engages with the literature on supranational governance and the legal nature of EU agencies. The fourth article, focuses on the EUAAs work within Third Country Resettlement, investigates how bureaucratic tools and infrastructure are developed. Looking at the collaborative process between Member States, the EUAA and other actors, it engages with the Public Administration literature on policy instruments.
This thesis is also a theoretical and methodological contribution to the study of organizations working in the field of migration management. The EUAA is an understudied agency with certain specific characteristics. It was therefore necessary to develop a new theoretical framework, labelled “micro-institutionalism”.