Refugee Flows and Terrorism in the European Union: Securitization through Association

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This article contributes to the debates on the securitization of asylum and migration in Europe by focusing on the securitization of asylum-seekers through their association with terrorism during the ‘refugee crisis’, which coincided with a ‘terrorism crisis’, in 2015-2016. Theoretically, it argues that, whilst the intrinsic characteristics of some issues mean that they are unlikely to be directly securitized, they may be indirectly securitized through their association with another issue that has come to be widely accepted as a security threat, such as terrorism or a pandemic. Empirically, the article shows how asylum-seekers, who had not been securitized in Europe in the aftermath of 9/11, became socially constructed as a security threat indirectly through their association with terrorism in 2015-2016. This association mainly took place through the deployment of specific practices. Recent events suggest that the securitization of asylum-seekers in the EU has had enduring effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-576
JournalInternational Politics
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2021


  • Securitization
  • European Union
  • refugees
  • Asylum-seekers
  • counter-terrorism
  • hotspot


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