Das Fluchtparadox -

Das Fluchtparadox

The Paradox of Fleeing. On Our Contradictory Approach to Displacement and Displaced Persons

About the book

Fleeing is paradoxical: to seek safety, people must risk their lives. To have the right to asylum, they must break the law – only to then have to grapple with contradictory demands and impossible attributes ascribed to them in their host countries. Judith Kohlenberger shows how we can arrive at a humane asylum and integration policy if we trust the strength of institutions, the rule of law and civil society.

Jury evaluation

European asylum and migration policy is riddled with contradictions. Refugees are compelled to put their lives in danger in order to find protection. When crossing borders, they are forced to break the law in order to claim their right to asylum. They are expected to be at once in need of protection and willing to work, to integrate into their host countries, but to remain forever cap in hand.
With great nuance, Judith Kohlenberger details the legal, social and political developments in our approach to fleeing and expulsion in the 20th and 21st centuries and exposes the paradoxes in current discourse. She provides intelligent and convincing answers to the question of what a humane asylum and integration policy could look like, and how Europe can live up to its responsibilities in this regard.

Judith Kohlenberger

Judith Kohlenberger is a cultural scientist and migration researcher at the Institute for Social Policy at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU), where she teaches and conducts research on refugee migration, integration and belonging. In autumn 2015, she was involved in one of the first studies in Europe on large-scale refugee movement. Her work has been published in international journals and received the Kurt-Rothschild-Preis (Kurt Rothschild Prize) 2019 and the Förderpreis der Stadt Wien (City of Vienna Sponsorship Prize). In addition to her academic work, she is active in the Vienna Integration Council and is a founding member of the initiative COURAGE – Mut zur Menschlichkeit, which campaigns for legal escape routes for refugees.


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