How refugees are interpreted in public debates in different countries

First results of a comparative project


  • Daniel Drewski Freie Universität Berlin
  • Jürgen Gerhards Freie Universität Berlin


Refugees, political discourses, comparative analysis, Turkey, Chile


This paper presents work in progress from a comparative qualitative analysis of political discourses on the admission or rejection of refugees in different countries around the world. Despite being subject to the norms and principles of international law that require states to open their borders to refugees seeking safety from persecution and serious human rights violations, states differ significantly in terms of their refugee policies and their justifications for these policies. In our project, we compare political discourses on the admission of refugees in different countries. We also try to account for country differences by drawing on the notion of “discursive opportunity structures”. We illustrate how different discursive opportunity structures might have shaped the political discourses in two of our six country cases: The Turkish discourse on Syrian refugees and the Chilean discourse on Venezuelan migrants.






Ad-hoc: Public Discourses on the Admission of Refugees and Asylum Seekers – Similarities and Differences between Countries