Since the early 2000s, asylum policy in Western states has become increasingly dominated by the concept of the ‘pull factor’—the idea that the economic rights afforded to asylum seekers can act as a migratory pull, and will have a bearing on the numbers of asylum applications received. The pull factor thesis has been widely discredited by researchers but remains powerful among policymakers. Through an analysis of the pull factor in the UK context, and drawing on insights from Cultural Political Economy, this article argues that the hegemony of the pull factor thesis is best understood as a ‘policy imaginary’ which has become sedimented through both discursive and extra-discursive practices and processes. The article offers a means of understanding how a common sense assumption—which is challenged by a large body of evidence—has come to dominate policymaking in a key area of concern for politicians and policymakers.
SOURCE: “Complexity Reduction and Policy Consensus: Asylum seekers, the right to work, and the ‘pull factor’ thesis in the UK context.” The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Vol 18, Issue 4, 2016.
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