Understanding Germany's response to the 2015 refugee crisis
Maysa Abbas Ayoub
Review of Economics and Political Science
Purpose This paper aims to understand the discrepancy between Germany's immediate positive response to the so-called "Europe 2015's refugee crisis" and the strict asylum legislation adopted in Germany in the following year. Design/methodology/approach The discrepancy is attributed to external and internal forces. The external force is Germany's obligation to adhere to the Common European Asylum System. The internal force is the role of the different policy actors. The paper focuses on the role
... f the media as an example of a private policy actor. Through adopting the theory of the social construction of target populations, the paper studies how the media constructs "asylum seekers", the target of the new asylum legislation. The role of the media is analyzed using the methodology of qualitative content analysis of a selected number of newspaper articles. Findings The majority of the studied articles problematized receiving and hosting refugees and focused on the reason behind migration differentiating between asylum seekers fleeing conflict areas and all others who might be abusing the asylum channel. The findings of the content analysis, as such, resonate with the amendments that focused on facilitating the integration of accepted "refugees" but restricted further entry. As such, it could be argued that these findings explain the influence of the media on the amendments and as such provide an explanation to the discrepancy between the initial response and the amendments. Research limitations/implications The analysis focused on one newspaper. The findings, as such, are not representative. The aim is only to provide an example of how the German media dealt with the refugee crisis and to suggest using the theory chosen by the paper to analyze the link between asylum legislation and the construction of asylum seekers. To understand how asylum legislation is influenced by how asylum seekers are constructed, more studies are needed. Such studies could analyze the role played by other media outputs and/or the role played by other policy actors in constructing the target of the policy. Originality/value The media's response is based on analyzing a sample of newspaper articles published by a German newspaper following the so-called 2015 refugee crisis. Accordingly, the findings represent an original endeavor to understand how the media reacted to the crisis.