Taking the „Just“ Decision. Caseworkers and Their Communities of Interpretation in the Swiss Asylum Office

Affolter, Laura; Miaz, Jonathan; Poertner, Ephraim (2019). Taking the „Just“ Decision. Caseworkers and Their Communities of Interpretation in the Swiss Asylum Office. In: Gill, Nick; Good, Anthony (eds.) Asylum Determination in Europe: Ethnographic Perspectives. Palgrave Socio-Legal Studies (pp. 263-284). Palgrave Macmillan 10.1007/978-3-319-94749-5_13

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Decision-making in street-level bureaucracies has often been portrayed as being riddled with a practical dilemma: that of having to juggle between compassion and rigid rule-following. However, drawing on three ethnographic studies of Swiss asylum administration, we argue that often what are from the ‘outside’ perceived as conflicting rationales of decision-making, are not experienced as such by the caseworkers themselves. Rather these different rationales are made to fit. We argue that decision-makers’ ‘volitional allegiance’ with the office plays a crucial role thereby. For the caseworkers we encountered, decision-making is about taking ‘just decisions’, i.e. decisions that they consider ‘correct’ and ‘fair’. We suggest that these notions of correctness and fairness are crucially influenced by their affiliations and allegiances with different ‘communities of interpretation’ within the office.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Social Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Affolter, Laura

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology

ISBN:

978-3-319-94749-5

Series:

Palgrave Socio-Legal Studies

Publisher:

Palgrave Macmillan

Language:

English

Submitter:

Laura Affolter Castillo Vega

Date Deposited:

01 Oct 2018 09:26

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 05:56

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/978-3-319-94749-5_13

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.120199

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/120199

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