Searching for Solutions: Lessons and Warnings from Refugee Situations
Western Washington University, Political Science Department, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Research Project at the Centre
The Global Refugee Regime: Contested Norms and Fragmented Cooperation
The project will be an investigation, through the prism of refugee situations in South Asia, of how contests over norms affect cooperation on refugee governance. I would like to conduct research on refugee norms in South Asia, with a focus on India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. My primary interest is in understanding how refugees are framed and how that framing shapes policy. In other words, how are refugee identities constructed and deconstructed in each of these countries? To what extent do bilateral relations affect these constructs? How do discourses in each country affect bilateral and multilateral dialogues? What do refugee discourses, and the polices that are connected to those narratives, tell us about sovereignty, national interest, and international cooperation? By examining how normative framings of refugees collide or intersect with conceptions of national interest, I hope to explain patterns of cooperation (and non-cooperation) in South Asia. This, in turn, will inform our understanding of the ways in which contestations about norms and interests affect global capacity and willingness to work towards addressing the plight of refugees.