Migration, Refugee Policy, and State Building in Postcommunist Europe

Migration, Refugee Policy, and State Building in Postcommunist Europe

by Oxana Shevel


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Why do similar postcommunist states respond differently to refugees, with some being more receptive than others? Why do some states privilege certain refugee groups, while other states do not? This book presents a theory to account for this puzzle, and it centers on the role of the politics of nation-building and of the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). A key finding of the book is that when the boundaries of a nation are contested (and thus there is no consensus on which group should receive preferential treatment in state policies), a political space for a receptive and nondiscriminatory refugee policy opens up. The book speaks to the broader questions of how nationalism matters after communism, and under what conditions and through what mechanisms international actors can influence domestic polices. The analysis is based on extensive primary research the author conducted in four languages in the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521764797
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 10/24/2011
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Oxana Shevel is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Tufts University. She is an associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University. She is also a member of the Program on New Approaches to Research and Security in Eurasia (PONARS) and of the EUDO Citizenship expert group as a country expert on Ukraine. Her research focuses on comparative politics of the postcommunist region, especially on issues of nation- and state-building, the politics of citizenship and migration and the influence of international institutions on domestic politics. Her work has appeared in Comparative Politics, East European Politics and Societies, Europe-Asia Studies and Slavic Review.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: postcommunism, nationalism, and refugees; 2. A theory of refugee politics in 'contested' and 'uncontested' postcommunist states; 3. Refugee policy in the Russian Federation; 4. Refugee policy in Ukraine; 5. Refugee policy in the Czech Republic; 6. Refugee policy in Poland; 7. Conclusion.

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