Alexander Burlin

Thesis title:

The European Union in the Global Refugee Regime: A Political Economic Approach to the Humanitarian-Development Nexus


This project examines the role of the European Union (EU) in promoting new technologies for aid and displacement management in the global refugee regime. It presents a study of how the EU has helped mainstream the “nexus model”—a model that calls for strengthened coherence between humanitarian and development aid—as part of its response to the so-called Syrian refugee crisis. In doing so, I explore to what extent and through what processes the nexus model has been used to navigate and promote EU political and economic interests in a multi-stakeholder environment. I take Jordan and Lebanon as two initial case studies, using discourse analysis and process-tracing to interpret qualitative data. The project contributes to nascent scholarship in international political economy and critical refugee studies on the humanitarian-development nexus by highlighting the key role played by the EU in driving contemporary policy developments, while simultaneously showing how EU engagement is shaped by its interactions with other key stakeholders. By situating the nexus model in a critical political economy framework, I argue that we can better understand the interests such an approach serves more broadly and how it affects refugee beneficiaries specifically. 

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