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Är alla lika mycket värda? : en kritisk diskursanalys av fördrags- och direktivtexter för EU:s gemensamma asylpolitik


  • Hulda Hjalmarsson

Summary, in English

The purpose of this paper is to critically examine documents setting down standards for EU asylum policies, in order to see if the power structures and actions called for therein can give a hint as to why declared human rights goals are not fully accomplished by the EU and its member states when implementing the policies.
Methodologically this research is done by carrying out a Critical Discourse Analysis of an extract of the Treaty of Amsterdam from 1997 (the first legally binding EU act on asylum politics) and a preamble to the EU directive from 2013 laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection.
A syntax analysis is made on the chosen texts in a hypothetico-deductive attempt to reveal a power structure and find signs of two ambitions of the EU; of both helping asylum seekers and being in control of them. I hypothetically suggest these ambitions derive from different motives because they sometimes seem to lead to contradictory actions when politically realised. Thereafter, my aim is to link together and understand the findings theoretically mainly by using the terms of ‘ethnic absolutism’, ‘race-thinking’ and ‘civilizationism’, as presented by the British critical theorist Paul Gilroy.
The results of the syntax analysis confirm my first hypothesis of an uneven power relationship between the EU’s member states and asylum seekers. The results also confirm my second hypothesis that the examined policy texts call for the member states to both help and control asylum seekers; different ambitions which in practice might entail a conflict of interest. To conclude, I suggest that both of these seemingly paradoxical political goals can be motivated by the same worldview, defined as ‘civilizationism’. The term implies in this case that the politics of the EU are constructed upon the idea of EU having the best model of society which hence is worthy of both being shared and protected. That could explain why human rights goals are not always pursued even though declared.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Social Sciences


  • kritisk diskursanalys
  • civilizationism
  • human rights
  • EU
  • asylpolitik
  • mänskliga rättigheter
  • Europastudier


  • Anamaria Dutceac Segesten (Biträdande Lektor)