Oeppen 2016 Info campaigns paper pre-proofs.pdf (649.13 kB)
‘Leaving Afghanistan! Are you sure?’ European efforts to deter potential migrants through information campaigns
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-09, 01:55 authored by Ceri OeppenCeri Oeppen
Policymakers in Europe are currently under pressure to both lessen the number of incoming asylum-seekers and ‘irregular migrants’ and address the humanitarian crises occurring at Europe’s border crossings. Increasingly, we see an externalization of Europe’s border controls, as migration management policies try to stop migrants before they even arrive in Europe. One form of externalized control is information campaigns, discouraging would-be migrants and asylum-seekers from leaving their countries of origin. Such campaigns intend to inform potential migrants about the difficulties of settling in Europe and the dangers of being smuggled. As such, these campaigns aim to both discourage migration and present that discouragement as a means of protecting people from financial and bodily risk. I examine the use of information campaigns in Afghanistan, and ask why they are continued, when ethnographic work with Afghans suggests that the campaigns are unlikely to be believed. I argue that these information campaigns are symbolic, fulfilling the need of policymakers to be seen to be doing something, and also – and more ominously – serve a role of shifting responsibility for the risks of the journey onto Afghans themselves, rather than the restrictive border regimes of the EU.
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