Emancipation in a Reception System: Asylum-Seekers in Poland in a Security Grey Zone Between Liberal Democracy and Nation-State.
Central and Eastern European Migration Review vol. 10, No. 2, 2021 | s. 5–22
The security of asylum-seekers in the context of conditions of reception has not been frequently researched. This article aims to fill this gap by arguing that asylum-seekers in Poland are stuck in a grey zone between being secure and being securitised by the host society, with little opportunity to use their own agency. The basis for my study is the theory of the Welsh School of Critical Security Studies which focuses on understand-ing security through emancipation. The methodology contains a structural analysis of the reception system through the lenses of the agency–structure relationship and a legal and institutional study, as well as an in-depth examination of security practices combined with a reconstruction critique. The results show that the Polish reception system is a structure which is highly asymmetrical in relations of power, especially in the fundamental case of setting a security agenda. This thus constitutes a substantial constraint on migrants’ agency – with some potential for emancipation, however. In conclusion, the research points out the discrep-ancy between elements of the reception system driven by principles of liberal democracy and the nation-state and calls for a more inclusive, empowering and participatory security provision within the reception system in Poland.
asylum-seekers, reception system, Poland, agency, emancipation