Domestic Violence – Fundamental concerns arising from domestic abuse is a major issue that is affecting most parts of the world. The reported cases and trends of abuse in relationships and within families are increasing despite the improvement in rules and regulations about domestic abuse . Despite the UK government enacting numerous regulations and rules, they have had minimal impact in reducing the rising rates of violence. The dissertation focused on rates and trends of domestic violence in the UK despite the changes in regulations and how the government can improve its operations to mitigate the high rates.
Furthermore, the dissertation found out the need for improvement in measures that the non-government organizations and the government have set in place to protect the victims of violence and reduce the cases of domestic abuse. The dissertation suggested that there is need to broaden the scope of awareness through educational programs. The government should adopt other measures that will aim at preventing the occurrence of such vices and safeguard the lives of victims. The main purpose of this dissertation was to develop an understanding of the various prominent cases of domestic abuse that exist in the UK over the past three decades.
The dissertation focused on the various case scenarios that are prominent with both men and women as victims of domestic violence. Thus, the dissertation highlighted multiple contexts of violence to show how men and women are victims especially women who are abused by their partners. The dissertation also found out the reason why women are the most affected in domestic violence, and most of them do to report such cases. The study made a comparative analysis of the various domestic abuse cases and state laws to safeguard the victims between the UK and the US. The comparison helped in understanding the steps taken by the UK government to stop and reduce the cases of domestic violence in the country.
The comparison was based on the United Nations standards, and this helped in giving a limelight on the legal structure of the UK and its initiative to reduce such cases. Many studies have focused on a comparison between the rates of domestic violence in other countries but have failed to compare the state laws in various countries and how they have reduced the rates of domestic abuse.
The main aim of the dissertation study was to focus on the rates and trends of violence in the UK for the past three decades despite an increase in the government efforts to enact more rules and regulations. The objectives of this study included:
To evaluate the impact of improved laws and regulations on the reduced cases of domestic violence in the UK for the past three decades
To analyse the most prominent and serious domestic abuse cases in the UK for the past three decades
To establish the differences in the way US has dealt with domestic violence cases better than UK government
Domestic Violence Dissertation Contents
1 – Introduction Contextual Background Research Problem Aims and Objectives of Research Research Questions Dissertation Rationale Significance of the Study Structure of the Study
2 – Literature Review Definition of Domestic Violence Domestic Violence Theories Critical Feminist Theory Social Learning Theory The Experiences of Men and Women as Victims of Domestic Abuse Violence Against Women as the Minority Ethnic Group Patterns of Recent Domestic Violence in the UK Improvement in Federal Laws on Domestic Violence Comparative Analysis of Domestic Violence in US and UK
3 – Methodology and Research Design Research Paradigm Research Approach Investigation Type Research Design Research Strategy Data Collection and Analysis Research Limitations Ethical Considerations
4 – Findings and Discussions Rates and Trends of Domestic Violence in the UK Explanation of Trends of Violence using Feminist Theory Explanation of trends and rates of violence using social learning theory Changes and Improvements in the UK Laws Effectiveness of the improved changes in the UK law How changes could be done differently and adopting perspectives from US
5 – Conclusions and Recommendations Conclusion Recommendations Future Implications
Youth crime equally known as juvenile delinquency is the participation in criminal activities by minors who have not attained the age of majority. Consequently, such behavior remains informed by various factors some of which can be alluded to as the cause of criminal actions (Goldson & Muncie, 2015). Common youth crimes include, for instance, underage drinking and smoking which are primary status offenses, violent crimes for instance robbery with violence and property crimes like burglary or theft. Despite the propensity of such crimes, little is known as to why young people turn to criminal tendencies. Subsequently, numerous theories have been postulated to explain the causes and core reasons as to why young people engage in youth crime. Thus, this essay endeavors to draw contrast and comparison between two such academic theories explaining youth crime; differential and labeling theories of youth crime.
The differential theory of crime notes that the criminal activities among the youth are acquired through social contact. Therefore, criminal mind and behavior are acquired through contact with a society which in turn represents the people (McShane, 2013). Developed by Edwin Sutherland in an attempt to explain the reason as to why youths engage in criminal actions, the emphasis of the theory is that criminal behavior among minors is a learned behavior. Consequently, a person learns to engage in criminal activity by devoting most their time in the company of individuals who have committed crimes, and such individuals believe that the commission of such crimes is acceptable. The young person in such learning environment, therefore, indulges his attitude, motive and drive for such a crime through careful understanding of the crime from an offender.
Labeling theory, on the other hand, notes that youth crime is a social construction, primarily by the ruling class. Postulated by Howard Becker in 1963, the theory is anchored on the tenets that the individuals in charge of the control of the society label young men from powerless class as deviant. Such labeling is however premised on stereotypical assumptions, and the effect is that young people of these social classes consider themselves criminals based on self-fulfilling prophecies (Kroska, Lee & Carr, 2017). Where the young person considers themselves a deviant as postulated by the ruling part of the society, they end up in criminal careers. Consequently, comparison drawn therefore between differential theory and labeling theory is that crime is socially construed and not innate. The different process that minors go through help in developing the criminal behavior, either from learning or from being labeled deviant.
Youth Crime and Sociology
According to differential theory, the learned behavior among the minors who commit a crime is not inherited, and neither is it invented. However, the criminal nature remains informed by the social norms and values that they draw from whom they substantially are in contact with socially (Akers, 2013). As such, no minor is born with the techniques and skills relevant enough to commit a crime. Labeling theory equally draws on the same line by outlining that the deviant behavior is not inborn but instead created by the act of labeling. As such, every minor is born free of criminal behavior, and deviant behaviors remain non-invented. Eventually, this comparison indicates that the criminal activities amongst the youth are predicated on interactions with society and not personality as at birth.
Subsequently, another comparison between differential theory and labeling theory is the legal connotation that represents their foundation. According to Becker, the construction of the rules informs the creation of deviant behaviors within young men (Sjöström, 2017). However, it is the reaction of the people towards a deviant behavior that sufficiently leads to the final formation of criminal behavior due to social dissent that hampers the self-concept of the young person. Similarly, differential theory notes that law defines crime despite being caused by social interaction with intimate and non-intimate interactions. Therefore, the legal consensus in determining the ground basis of crime remains similar in both theories.
Eassey & Krohn (2017) notes that witnessing of criminal behavior does not inform the development of criminal behavior in young people. However, such actions are acquired through communication as the primary interaction process. Consequently, where a young person communicates with another person who has committed deviant action or is in the process of such commission, then such is likely to result in the formation of criminal behavior. However, the most robust interaction that leads to criminal behavior is the intimate relations between family members.
Third parties and media on the other are less influential in developing such behavior. The same contrasted against labeling theory indicates that criminal behavior is instead a construction of the rules by the those controlling the society (Akers, 2013). According to Howard Becker, for instance, a fight in a low-income community is a measure of deviant behavior or delinquency. However, in a high-income neighboured, the authorities fail to classify the same as delinquency. As such, crime is developed not from the actions of youth but the reactions of others towards the initial action.
In the differential theory of crime, the learning of the criminal behavior must include the acquisition of techniques and skills in performing the criminal activity. Additionally, the minor must also develop the motive and attitude necessary for the crime from the social interaction. (Gray, Durkin, Call, Evans & Melton, 2015). For example, where a young person interacts with a person who has been involved in murder through verbal communication, they are likely to learn the technique and motive employed by such person.
However, the choice to engage in similar youth crime remains predicated on the social norms and values that such a young person appreciates. The norms are equally learned through verbal communication and different actions. In labeling theory, however, not every deviance is labeled criminal except for negative labels. The formulation of the rules of the society determines whether deviant actions are outlawed or not and represent the primary source of criminal behavior.
Labeling theory provides for two types of deviance; primary and secondary. Primary deviance is emotive reactions to the behavior in question while secondary deviance denotes extreme case of social dissent as a reaction towards the behavior. The difference between the two is that in primary deviance the self-concept is minimally affected while in secondary deviance, the young faces ostracization from the social settings. The resultant effect of secondary deviant is that the young person, therefore, seeks such social recognition from groups that condone such behavior (Cullen & Jonson, 2014).
An example is drawn from acts of criminal prosecution. Criminal prosecution usually causes stigmatization due to the negative label according to its association. The effect of such labeling is in the action of equating the past of an individual to current deviant to the point of creating a belief that the person is a criminal. Therefore, the stigma that young people face represents one means which informs their involvement in the crime. In contrast, no stigmatization in differential theory causes criminal behavior. Such is occasional on substantial social interactions that are informed by criminal behavior.
Another critical contrast between differential theory and labeling theory is the consequence of the primary action. The primary action in differential theory is social interaction while for labeling theory is negative labeling (Akers, 2013). The consequence of social interactions does not necessarily lead to criminal behavior as the youth still has to weigh such an option based on social norms and values learned. Despite the acquisition of knowledge, technique, and skill for the commission of the crime, the same is restrained by social controls. However, negative labeling primarily leads to the development of criminal behavior, especially in secondary deviance. Tentatively, due to societal segregation, the push for the search of an accommodating group causes the young person to only associate with persons tolerant of such deviant behavior.
Further, the aim of labeling theory is concentration on the reaction towards a deviant behavior committed by a young person. As such, there is unintended bias by academicians in the formulation of deviance as a source of criminal behavior among the youth. The concentration of differential theory, however, is twofold (Goldson & Muncie, 2015). First, the criminal behavior must be informed by social interactions of intimate relations although this must not always be the case. Secondly, criminal behavior only stems where the influence of communication is supported by lack of social norms and values for the offending young man. As such, there must be either a positive or negative social inclination for a crime to either result after the acquisition of knowledge, skills, motive, and technique to commit the crime in question.
Tentatively, the differential theory provides that where the person in the association is the primary actor in the commission of a crime and believes that such a crime is acceptable, then the criminal behavior is likely to result (Cullen & Jonson, 2014). Nevertheless, for such criminal behavior to arise, then the benefits of the commission of such a crime should outweigh retraction from such conduct. The variation of interactions and learning occasionally differ although the propensity to developing criminal behavior is based on consistency towards exposure. The same does not apply in labeling theory where the propensity of labeling affects the individual only where it is negative to the point of inflicting fulfillment of self-prophecy. Additionally, deviance only creates criminal behavior where it is secondary, and there is social dissent towards the action of the individual. Conclusively, criminal behavior according to labeling theory is not learned but placed upon a youth due to societal reactions.
The differential theory further contends that the learning of criminal behavior is similar to all other learning mechanisms employed in different spheres. However, the downside of such an argument is the motive for the uptake of such process (Muncie, 2014). Thus, according to the theory, all other learning mechanisms must be motivated for individuals to engage in such learning process. Consequently, criminal behavior needs motive before the young person gets into the process despite contentions that it is spontaneous. However, such notions are dismissed with the consideration that learning is innate despite the motive. In contrast to labeling theory, no learning is required while at the same time, the categorization is deliberate rather than spontaneous and lack of motivation
Crime actions represent the expression of specific needs that an individual either desires or desperately need. However, not all crimes are based on needs and want, and at the same time individuals can aspire and achieve needs without resorting to criminal behavior. Such notion represents a primary tenet of the differential theory (Kroska, Lee & Carr, 2017). For instance, in a scenario where two young people desire money and gold and one resort to crime to satisfy such need while the other opts for legitimate means. Thus, the mere need for gold does not inform the reason as to why the other engaged in crime and the other didn’t. The answer in the scenario above is predicated on social norms and values that the two different young people hold and exposure to criminal activity. Consequently, crime results due to the pre-exposure to criminal behavior and subsequent ignorance of the societal norms and values.
On the other hand, Labeling requires negative secondary deviance and social dissent towards the behavior for development of criminal behavior. An illustration stems where authorities treat similar behaviors in different social settings differently. Where for instance a particular kind of deviance is tolerated when unknown to the public although the society takes part in it secretly, such deviance when uncovered results in the development of criminal behavior (Akers, 2013). Such kind of deviance, for example, is taking of illegal drug substances. Although it is usually secretly undertaken, occasional public recognition of such deviance results in being branded criminal and subjection to public shame. It is such reactions that result in the development of criminal behavior in young people. The same becomes extreme where social dissent forces the particular young man to resort to groups that accept the kind of deviance that represent their common relationship.
Lastly, a contrast can also be drawn from the impact of the primary factor in the commission of the crime. The differential theory contends that the impact of learning from known criminals who have accepted criminal behavior may or may not result in the commission of a crime (Goldson & Muncie, 2015). Labeling theory on the other hand points that the deviance if secondary and negative and therefore results in social dissent, then criminal behavior automatically arises due to identity problems. Thus, the probability of development of criminal behavior between the two theories varies among the young people.
In conclusion, it remains apparent that the two academic theories endeavor to create rationale and motive for the rampant statistics involving youth crime. The differential theory alludes the criminal activity within the youth population to the social interactions that they undergo. Such social interactions are either from intimate relations that is family members and relatives or from non-intimate relations including strangers.
Where the young person is exposed to interactions through communication from persons with criminal experience and such persons accepted the crime, then the young person is likely to develop criminal behavior. Nevertheless, for such behavior to ensue, then the young person’s adherence to norms and values within the society remains compromised. In labeling theory, criminal behavior arises among young people where deviant behavior is associated with social dissent, and such reactions create the segregation of the young person from the social recognition they require. Resort to groups that appreciate such deviant behavior automatically results in the development of criminal behavior. Conclusively, both theories provide that criminal behavior among the youth be socially construed and not innate or inherited.
Akers, R. L. (2013). Criminology theories: Introduction and evaluation of youth crime. Routledge.
Cullen, F. T., & Jonson, C. L. (2014). Labeling theory and correctional rehabilitation: Beyond unanticipated consequences. Labeling theory: Empirical tests, 63-88.
Eassey, J. M., & Krohn, M. D. (2017). Differential Association, Differential Social Organization, and White‐Collar Crime: Sutherland Defines the Field. The Handbook of the History and Philosophy of Criminology, 156.
Goldson, B., & Muncie, J. (Eds.). (2015). Youth crime and justice. Sage.
Gray, A. C., Durkin, K. F., Call, J. T., Evans, H. J., & Melton, W. (2015). Differential association and marijuana use in a juvenile drug court sample. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 11(1), 2015.
Kroska, A., Lee, J. D., & Carr, N. T. (2017). Juvenile Delinquency, Criminal Sentiments, and Self-Sentiments: Exploring a Modified Labeling Theory Proposition. In Advances in Group Processes (pp. 21-47). Emerald Publishing Limited.
McShane, M. (Ed.). (2013). An Introduction to Criminology Theory. Routledge.
Muncie, J. (2014). Youth Crime. Sage.
Sjöström, S. (2017). Labeling theory. Routledge International Handbook of Critical Mental Health.
Comparing and contrasting Social Isolation, Social Independence and Social Interdependence in terms of potential influences on learning outcomes for individuals and groups
International students experience social isolation for a diversity of reasons like discrimination, or commonly being in circumstances where they feel as their thoughts and judgments are not assessed. Social isolation may possibly lead to incredibly serious mental as well as physical health threats (Mark & Campbell, 2011). In campuses, social isolation emotion has been scrutinized in numerous studies and is determined to happen on the recital of individuals at dissimilar level. Additionally, the emotion of social isolation in universities begins at the insensible level and subsequently marked different ways among students. Both social isolation and social independence are linked with improved mortality, although it is unsure whether their upshots are independent or whether isolation represents the expressive course through which social isolation prejudice health.
It’s no furtive that international students who are socially isolated to be susceptible to be at superior threat of health issues, from temper disorders as depression toward stress-related chronic circumstances such as heart disease (Baker, & Clark, 2010). During tutoring, social interdependence ought to be ordered in the midst of international students’ learning objectives. International students may possibly engage in a course of endorsing each other’s accomplishment while, all at once, be internalizing principles associated to civic liability and contributing toward the common good.
Even if social isolation is most ordinary within the elderly, international students may also be influenced by both social independence and social interdependence. Abridged social contact, being alone, isolation and independence are connected with condensed quality of existence. Interdependence refers to how group of people assess their level as well as superiority of social contact.
Social isolation may possibly be more precisely measured than social independence through the number of communal contacts that international students have. Social interdependence might be distinguished from social dependence, self-determination, and helplessness (Agarwal & Nagar, 2011). Social dependence exists as soon as the goal attainment of student A is exaggerated by student B’s actions, although the reverse is not accurate. Conversely, Social independence subsists once the goal accomplishment of student A is unaltered by student B’s actions. Social helplessness exists once neither the individual nor others may possibly influence goal accomplishment. Interests might not be absolutely linked with social isolation and a huge deal relies on the personality of the independence made (Coleman, 2011).
The teaching tactic of outcomes-based health education is mostly anchored in both social isolation and social independence. For this reason it might be very hard for social isolation to detriment from Outcomes-based health education as of their incapability to form associations or work mutually with others within groups. Within the light of this impediment, the aspire of the explore was to resolve the association linking social isolation and intellectual accomplishment at major health level as well as to determine which aspects relate toward social isolation ordinarily (Coleman, 2011). The variance within academic accomplishment may possibly be explained through social isolation making it a vital changeable once academic accomplishment is envisaged at major health level.
Communally isolated individuals are extra expected to experience unhelpful health outcomes like failing to seek out treatment for state of affairs before they turn out to be life-threatening (Gillies, Ashman & Terwel, 2008). Additionally, international student with energetic social networks are extra expected to come across friends, or associates who persuade them to visit the doctor so as to acquire a determined cough checked out, while an isolated individual might allow the cough to advancement until they practice serious complexity breathing. Isolated individuals are expected to hunt for or get behavior for drug compulsion problems that they may be not capable to be familiar with on their own. Grown-up adults are particularly prone toward social isolation as their relatives and friends die.
Despite the fact that loneliness is frequently fleeting, accurate social isolation and social interdependence habitually lasts for years and seems to be a chronic stipulation which affects all features of a person’s life and can have severe outcomes for health and safety. Socially isolated students have no solitary to twist to in individual crisis, no one to divulge in for the duration of a predicament, and no one alongside whom to assess their individual behavior aligned with or from whom to discover etiquette or socially satisfactory behavior (West, Tjosvold, & Smith, 2005). Both social isolation and Social interdependence may possibly be problematical at any age even though it has dissimilar effects for dissimilar age cohorts (social isolation for young people might have dissimilar outcomes than social interdependence for mature people, even if both age cohorts might experience it).
Social independence and social Interdependence may help international students acquire or build up a worldwide intellectual ethos: local or local issues are referred to broader formation, courses and events throughout comparative, major and minor advances and methods. Individuals exercise critical consciousness coping with social issues, appealing explicit debates, and learn to distinguish the scalar insinuations of facts claims (Thanh, 2014). Additionally, international students are capable to plan, execute and review a high quality innovative academic or practical research in a comprehensive, meticulous and reliable manner, of superiority to value periodical in peer-reviewed article. Individuals display comprehensive understanding and serious assessment of the dynamics of authority relationships in preferred locations, in a background of strengthened urbanization and worldwide interconnectedness.
Social independence enable variables linked to social connections within individual, number and occurrence of connections, variety of network ties, and variety of network ties to be assed. A number of inquiries facilitate international students to recognize their discernment of their individual academic success, and identify their associations with other members they recognized as “knowing” in their course (DeZure, 2000). Both social independence and social Interdependence may also help international students learn to link through theory and/or carry out their academic movement to health issues with extraordinary spotlight on ethical issues as well as critical commitment.
Social interdependence characteristically results within opposition relations that occur as individuals deject and barricade other individuals’ efforts to accomplish. On the other hand, social independence takes place as students persuade and assist each other’s efforts so as to accomplish the group’s objectives (Johnson, 2009). International students spotlight both on raising their individual success and avoid anybody else from being extra successful than they are. No relations exist as soon as individuals work separately without any interface or exchange with each other. Moreover, individuals spotlight only on raising their personal success and disregard as inappropriate the efforts of others.
To turn out to be a fully residential adult one must actualize numerous health developmental facets, one being the societal facet (Thanh, 2014). If international students social health development is hindered, it might not simply result in social isolation, although can also manipulate other health developmental facets. In view of the fact that social isolation hampers individual’s psychological health, international students who either outline poor associations or have complexity in outlining sound associations with their parents, friends or teachers, will unavoidably suffer developmental self-possession whereas others advancement towards adulthood in general.
In fact there is extremely little information on the connection linking social isolation and social independence achievement, particularly for the period of the primary school years once group work is exploited in the learning state of affairs (Healy, 2008). An extra inclusive approach, taking into consideration the causal aspects of social isolation, the results of social isolation on health accomplishment and the processes of interference might be extremely useful.
Johnson, D.W, (2009) An educational psychology success story: Social interdependent theory and cooperative learning. Educationally researcher, pp 365- 379
Mark, M. M., Donaldson, S. I., & Campbell, B. (2011). Social psychology and evaluation. New York: Guilford Press.
Agarwal, R., & Nagar, N. (2011). Cooperative learning. Delhi: Kalpaz Publications.
Encyclopedia of the sciences of learning: 1. (2012). New York: Springer.
Coleman, P. T. (2011). Conflict, interdependence, and justice: The intellectual legacy of Morton Deutsch. New York, N.Y: Springer.
Gillies, R. M., Ashman, A. F., & Terwel, J. (2008). The teacher’s role in implementing cooperative learning in the classroom. New York: Springer.
West, M. A., Tjosvold, D., & Smith, K. G. (2005). The essentials of teamworking: International perspectives. Chichester, England: Wiley.
Thanh, P. T. H. (2014). Implementing Cross-Culture Pedagogies: Cooperative Learning at Confucian Heritage Cultures. (Implementing cross-culture pedagogies.) Singapore: Springer.
Healy, L. M. (2008). International social work: Professional action in an interdependent world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
DeZure, D. (2000). Learning from change: Landmarks in teaching and learning in higher education from Change magazine, 1969-1999. Sterling, Va. [u.a.: Stylus Publ.
Information Resources Management Association. (2014). Computational linguistics: Concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications.
Baker, T, & Clark, J. (2010) Cooperative learning- a double-edge sword: A cooperative learning model for use with diverse student groups. Intercultural education, 21(3), pp 257-268
Social Impacts Relating to Increased Organized Crime – Case Study into the City Of London
Organized crime involves numerous criminal agents that work together in criminal activities. London has been considered as the criminal capital of Europe due to the high level of organized crime activities. London’s attractiveness for organized crime is due to its large population and its well established international transport infrastructure. The aim of this project is to determine the social and cultural factors that influence the increasing organized crime activities. As per the literature review, organized crime groups engage in numerous activities including theft, people smuggling, sex trafficking and fraud. All of these activities have numerous negative social and economic impacts on the London society.
The study utilizes secondary sources of data due to the magnitude of the research population. Only reputable third party sources of secondary data were used. The study’s findings showed that demographic factors such as poverty, high crime rate and family stress factors are the key contributors to the rise of organized crime in London. In addition, the study found out that organized crime is a result of systematic processes that entails complex interconnections between individual, cultural and social factors over the course of an individual’s life. These factors are family, disorders, education, substance abuse and inheritable gene traits.
The study recommends that a witness protection program be reinforce in the city of London in order to protect those who are willing to come forward and cooperate with law enforcement agencies against organized criminal gangs. The second recommendation is that laws should be enacted that allow law enforcement agencies to navigate through the limitations of the existing statute. Finally, the dissertation recommends that all stakeholders should be integrated in the process of combating organized crime in London.
To establish the criminal activities that are on the increase due to the activities of organized crime syndicates within London
To establish the social and cultural factors within London that are attributed to the rise in organized criminal activities
To understand how these identified social and cultural factors can be mitigated to reduce crime activity within the greater London region
Research Aims and Objectives
Organized Crime in London
The Criminal Activities of London crime groups
Excise fraud and smuggling
Fraud and Theft
The social and economic cost of organized crime
Approach to Data Analysis
Approach to Write Up and Discussions
Findings and Analysis
Criminal Activities that are on the Rise in London due to Crime Syndicates
Social-Cultural Factors that Contribute to Increased Criminal Activities in London
The Mitigation Measures to the Social Cultural Factors that Contribute to Crime in London
For more tips on how to write your own social studies dissertation check out the Social Studies Dissertation Collection today. It contains many dissertation topics and dissertation titles. I would very grateful if you can share this post on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you.
After 66 years of ratification of asylum, when the Geneva Convention on Refugees was prepared and implemented to officially recognize the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, the world stands in the midst of a global crisis questioning the principles on which this document prepared and ultimately applied on a large international scale for nations to follow and pursue. Fassin (2013) postulates that amidst the crisis which has hit a number of nations owing to the political conditions of various nations it is intriguing to explore the historical value and significance of how refugees came to be and the laws that were put in place to offer them protection from challenging conditions. Before proceeding with commenting on the present scenario of the global refugee crisis which has predominantly impacted European nations, it is imperative to establish the definition of refugee. According to Price, a refugee or asylum seeker is an individual that has been compelled or forced to flee their home country and seek refuge in another country due to a number of reasons.
These reasons may include fear of political and religious persecution, genocide, civil war or the occurrence of a catastrophic event which has made it impossible for the individual to continue to lead their life in their home nation.
According to a report presented by the BBC, the European refugee crisis was triggered in 2015 with the influx of migrants into European nations. The arrival of asylum seekers in the continent was primarily initiated by the conflict and civil war in Syria where the Islamic State is fighting against government powers to impose their fundamentalist ideology and overtake a number of cities within the country. Following the arrival of individuals and families from Syria, the second and third largest nationalities claiming refuge in European nations Afghanistanis and Iraqis primarily on the grounds of civil unrest, violence and terrorist activity in the nations. According to the statistics provided by the BBC, Germany has the highest asylum seeker claims across all countries of Europe, followed by a major portion of refugees entering Italy, UK and Greece. The poor socioeconomic conditions of refugees have captured the attention of global media and world leaders continue to debate about the possible solutions to manage this crisis, however, at present, it is continuing to escalate.
Ethics and Politics of Asylum
The key objectives of this assessment have been set out to examine the ethics and politics of asylum as presented in Auslander Raus to understand who has the right to live in ‘new’ Europe. Auslander Raus or Foreigners Out! Is a documentary directed by Christoph Schlingensief following the victory of extreme right parties and candidates during Austrian election – as a mark of protest and to show his disbelief over the election of such right-wing extremist candidates the filmmaker placed a concentration camp in the middle of the country’s capital to denounce the ideologies which led to their election in the first place. The paper critically examines asylum from an ethical and political standpoint in the light of this documentary by tracing the publics’ perception of asylum seekers in various parts of the globe and ultimately linking it to the perceptions and thought processes which are emerging in Europe against unauthorised migrants. The paper then addresses the concerns which are being raised by them and sheds light on the message of Auslander Raus and notes how it applies to the scenario and grave situation which is unfolding right in front of the world in various European nations that have been hit by the refugee crisis.
Asylum seekers in many scenarios are viewed as the ‘other’, the sense of exclusion that they experience within their own communities is marked by a great degree of animosity from others who may view their motives with a negative connotation and essentially view them as a burden on their own community, economy and country (Haslam and Pedersen, 2007). Studying the attitudes of Australian towards asylum seekers that come into the country, a research found that Australians had mixed reactions which swayed towards the negative side when forming opinions about refugees that come into the country. The authors note that the most common concerns held by the general public pertaining to their arrival were related to raising questions about how they would integrate into society and fears about their inability to cope with the cultural shock that they may undergo upon their arrival into the country (McKay, Thomas and Kneebone, 2012). Many Australians whose views were taken during the course of this research also expressed their concerns that the asylum seekers did not use the ‘right way’ to enter their country which points to the understanding that many residents believe that the motivations for entering into a specific country based on the grounds of asylum are not justified or somehow invalidates their right to be in the country.
The research of Louis et al. (2007) explored the fundamental reasons why citizens and the general public hold a negative view against asylum seekers – the primary problems that have emerged from the entry of millions of documented and undocumented workers are associated with how they will cope with and accept the cultural norms that are so different and varied from their own (55). The study also highlighted the portrayal of a negative attitude by citizens in situations when they were expected to interact with asylum seekers.
As noted previously, the number of applications for people seeking asylum in Europe rapidly increased in 2015 due to the state of the civil war in Syria which escalated tensions in the Middle East and saw the rapid rise of the Islamic State across the country and some parts of Iraq (Leithhold, 2015). While the governments of EU states were positive at first with the arrival of the migrants, it was soon observed that the crisis grew greater than expected. For instance, identifying amongst migrant applications that held credibility and that lacked any validation or genuine reason for seeking asylum emerged as a challenge. When it was realised that the huge migrant influx was close to becoming a major human rights and social issue, Leithhold (2015) notes that many countries began to develop and impose legislations to explore a way of more effectively dealing with the situation. However, at that point, the crisis had already reached a major breaking point with reported illegal activity at migrant camps, acts of sexual assaults reported by migrants in Cologne and even stabbings reported in parts of Europe that were ultimately traced back to migrant men that had posed as children to enter the EU states.
According to a report presented by BBC (2016), gangs of men were seen assaulting women and engaging in illegal activities including robbery during a New Year’s celebration in Cologne, Germany. Around 100 women reported becoming victims of these crimes and were subjected to groping and touching. As the media picked on this story, reports emerged that many of these men who were claimed to be of Syrian descent stated that it was the women’s provocative clothing and mannerisms which encouraged them to engage in such activities and that they were ‘asking for it’. Rasmussen et al. (2016) write that the fact that these attacks took place in Europe and the emotional and physical ordeal that the women had to go through because of them represent the level of integration that refugees and especially men have been able to depict.
Western society prides itself on promoting equal rights for women and an individual’s sense of dressing should never be viewed as an excuse for sexual assault and even rape because it defies the principles of consent. Therefore, the fact that these attacks took place in such a progressive society raised questions about the ethics of asylum and whether nations should be obliged or expected to offer refugees a place if their lack of ability to integrate within society causes issues and grave problems for the community that resides there.
However, the sensationalization of such news in the Western media and wrong implications of criminal activity that were pinned upon migrant men developed a mindset of fear and allegations where a narrative of viewing asylum seekers as evil or the ‘other’ ones emerged. It should be noted that these stories were not essentially true to the greatest extent, some were fabricated and some cases were never even reported. However, the situation escalated to the extent that right-wing organisations were able to capitalise on this negative public sentiment and actively denounce the entry of asylum seekers often going to lengths were acts of racism were recorded in camps that were housing such individuals. The media must play a responsible role in promoting the integration of migrants rather than singling them out and promoting the ‘us versus them’ rhetoric which is harmful to enhance their extent of cohesion within society. These initiatives can only lessen the tensions between the two sides and enable the start of productive dialogue to better understand the views of the other party and respectfully agree or disagree with them (Cabot, 2014).
European Migrant Crisis
This understanding and course of events lead to the fundamental point of who is ultimately allowed and has a right to live in this ‘new’ Europe? Given the political situation that has erupted in the countries of asylum seekers sparked by terrorist activity that has its roots in extremist ideologies – does Europe have a moral obligation to offer a place of safety and security to migrant families? Children, women and the elderly that have been driven out of their homes due to the ravages of war and those who have nothing to do with how the events have in their own countries. At this stage, the ethical dimension of asylum emerges and takes a new shape because it is ultimately a moral perspective which encourages humans to understand the value of human life and recognise its worth. Who decides whether the asylum seekers are granted a place to live in Europe, the narrative promoted in AuslanderRaus definitely offers a greater insight into this notion and explains how the anti-refugee ideology of rightist fundamentalists is no different from any other ideology that promotes extremist views (Volf, 2010).
As suggested in the research of Leithhold, EU states only began to pass legislations pertaining to asylum seekers and refugees once the crisis had already become grave, therefore, a proper policy or legislation was not documenting their entry when the civil war in Syria first broke out and when the unrest in the Middle East was at its peak. Hansen has stated that protecting the rights of refugees and ultimately those who wish to seek asylum in a country must be documented legally to ensure that the rights of all individuals are protected and that they are able to live freely in a new country without the threat of deportation or violence.
From the aforementioned perspective, the question of who gets to live in Europe can be answered by addressing the legal dimension of the topic – if the satirical nature of political asylum is to be compared with this statement as it has been projected in Auslander Raus it would be intriguing to note that the documentary simply shows the life of a few refugees housed in a Big Brother however, it does not show how they got to Austria, the land that offered them asylum. This is distinctly what can be understood from the premise of the documentary – the key issue with an individual’s refugee status emerges if their arrival in the country is undocumented or not supported by their legal right to enter the country. With respect to this point, Hansen raises the notion that German laws on asylum have been generous rather than practical. This drawback with the country’s policy has what led to the issues that communities face with the influx of migrants which may suggest that how refugees are selected to enter the country and on what basis they are granted permission is an issue rather than the asylum itself.
Asylum From A Legal and Political Perspective
In their research Hanewald et al. (2016) raised a critical point when discussing asylum from a legal and political perspective by stating that the implementation of any laws pertaining to the entry of migrants simply does not relate to their situation but is subjected to the mental and physical health of the refugee as well (166). In a healthcare system which may continue to become burdened if corrective measures are not taken on an immediate basis, it would be unfair for the citizens of a country to bear the additional burden of taking care of individuals who have been left with mental and physical health issues because of the situation in their country. Thus, the simple need to enter a country as a refugee does not offer a proper justification to act as a premise for them to be granted refugee status.
Caviedes (2016) states that with respect to the monitoring of refugees and individuals that are granted migrant status, there is a need to implement effective structures to ensure that their arrival is based on concrete reason on the basis of which they have been granted asylum. The ability to integrate and accept the cultural norms and values is a fundamental point in this case because it decides the extent to which the individual will prove to be a valuable and productive member of society rather than becoming a burden on tax payer’s hard earned money.
Migration governance as a comprehensive model and structure is a critical point of consideration in this case because it addresses and assesses individuals on the basis of the factors which determine their level of integration and also judges their potential to become long term residents. Caviedes recommends that measures such as requiring migrants to take language, culture and civics classes to better enlighten them and offer them tools to successfully integrate within society (559). Moreover, another factor that could better assist the selection of migrants once they apply for asylum is determining whether they already have family members residing in the country they wish to enter. Caviedes states that such cases are more preferable in comparison with situations where the individual has no roots tying the country to them because it offers them a platform to understand the society that they are about to enter (560).
Trauner (2016) notes that what the world is witnessing today in Europe with respect to the migrant and refugee crisis is reflective of policy failures on the part of the nation’s governments. Not only have these policies overburdened neighbouring states wherein migrant numbers are too high but they have also led to the building up of financial constraints on economies that are struggling to provide these new entrants with a living in the society and create jobs against the backdrop of a struggling global economy.
As depicted in Auslander Raus, the uncertainty of immigration and refugees only becomes more complex when there is no trace of where they came from and no trace of their background and history (Watts 165). The shady details of their past only create more distrust amongst the community where they are forced to grow more hateful and distrustful of what they view as aliens in their own community. However, a more documented approach wherein a method is devised to check the background of these individuals can also fulfil the moral and ethical obligations of giving them a new start at life while ensuring that the security and well-being of nation’s citizens are not compromised at the same time.
As the refugee crisis was triggered in Europe in 2015, EU member states have been left in utter disbelief with the problems that have followed the state of emergency. While the entry of immigrants into the countries of Europe have also incited a wave of extremist parties belonging to the right calling for their complete ban, from an ethical and moral standpoint this initiative and action are simply not justified. When homes continue to burn in Syria and the bodies of innocent children lie on the streets of Aleppo, the world cannot afford to watch in silence and let these innocent beings suffer because of something that is not their fault. Therefore, calling for a complete ban on refugees is out of the question. This raises the ultimate question of ‘who has the right to live in the ‘new’ Europe?’ and the answer to this as extensively discussed in this essay is that the right to live in Europe is possessed by its citizens and also refugees that have a documented status and the legal right to enter these states.
The legal right to enter these countries must be determined by the government and the concerned authorities that should weigh on various factors which will determine the extent to which candidates can successfully integrate within a society, for instance, assess their education, occupation and family background can offer a better insight into who they are and the potential that they have to become productive members of society. As shown in Auslander Raus, no one has the right to govern the lives of refugees and the general public cannot act as the ‘Big Brother’ in their attempt to scrutinise how they choose to lead their life and what they choose to do. Any measures to impose constant surveillance on migrant settlements and camps will only increase the sense of mistrust that they experience and will promote further hostility and animosity. For successful integration, it is imperative to accept the reality of asylum and accept that the current state of the world has led a scenario where this issue is something that cannot be ignored. Therefore, migration governance, asylum legislation and policy development are key areas to address when coping with the current scenario which is emerging across the globe.
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