This panel examines different case studies from the North and South of Europe by focusing both on local practices concerning 'asylum' and the varieties of cultural meanings of 'refugees'.
A person is a refugee from the moment s/he is forced to flee her/his country; vis-à-vis the host country in which s/he is seeking asylum. The fact that among refugees may be those people who are using the system to migrate, ie have unfounded claims, is irrelevant to the actual fears of those who are refugees. <br/>Anthropologically, the relationship between refugee experiences and bureaucratic asylum practices has been tenuous. European asylum policies have been progressively characterised by greater restrictionism towards non-European 'others'. There is ample evidence that the decreasing numbers of 'refugees' in Europe is the result of the increase in asylum rejections. Traditional asylum countries in the North are pushing the goalposts to the South. Ironically, these new host states lack both the institutional framework and civil society structures to deal with these newcomers on their way to the North. This panel examines different case studies from the North and South of Europe in exploring this irony by focusing both on local practices concerning 'asylum' and the varieties of cultural meanings of 'refugees'.