The politics of compassion

Immigration and asylum policy

By Ala Sirriyeh

The politics of compassion

Whether addressing questions of loss, (be)longing, fears of an immigration ‘invasion’ or perceived injustices in immigration policies, immigration debates are infused with strong emotions.

Emotion is often presented as a factor that complicates and hinders rational discussion. This book explores how emotion is, in fact, central to understanding how and why we have the immigration policies we do, and what kinds of policies may be beneficial for various groups of people in society.

The author looks beyond the ‘negative’ emotions of fear and hostility to examine on the politics of compassion and empathy. Using case studies from Australia, Europe and the US, the book offers a new and original analysis of immigration policy and immigration debates.

Ala Sirriyeh is a Lecturer in Sociology in the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Liverpool. She works in migration and refugee studies, with a focus on the experiences of children and young people. She wrote Inhabiting Borders, Routes Home (Routledge, 2013) based on her PhD research. From 2017-2018 she held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship for a research project titled Undocumented Young Immigrants, Political Activism and Citizenship in the USA.

A crisis of compassion

The emotional politics of immigration and asylum

Emotion, colonialism and immigration policy

The intolerable death of Alan Kurdi

Victims, villains and saviours

Withholding compassion

Outrage, responsibility and accountability

Self-care and solidarity: the undocumented immigrant youth movement

Conclusion

“This lucid, useful book throws new light on how we think about migration. It deftly links theory and evidence to explain the ‘compassionate refusal’ used to justify exclusionary migration policies.” Hannah Jones, University of Warwick

About the book

Whether addressing questions of loss, (be)longing, fears of an immigration ‘invasion’ or perceived injustices in immigration policies, immigration debates are infused with strong emotions.

Emotion is often presented as a factor that complicates and hinders rational discussion. This book explores how emotion is, in fact, central to understanding how and why we have the immigration policies we do, and what kinds of policies may be beneficial for various groups of people in society.

The author looks beyond the ‘negative’ emotions of fear and hostility to examine on the politics of compassion and empathy. Using case studies from Australia, Europe and the US, the book offers a new and original analysis of immigration policy and immigration debates.

Content

A crisis of compassion

The emotional politics of immigration and asylum

Emotion, colonialism and immigration policy

The intolerable death of Alan Kurdi

Victims, villains and saviours

Withholding compassion

Outrage, responsibility and accountability

Self-care and solidarity: the undocumented immigrant youth movement

Conclusion

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