Hierarchies of belonging. The categorization and exclusion of third-country nationals in Greece

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Agarwal, Sakshi
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Since 2015, the European Union has experienced an unprecedented number of third-country nationals, mostly from conflict-torn countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, arriving to its borders in the search for asylum. Greece particularly has been at the forefront as more than 1.2 million asylum-seekers have reached its shores. The structure of the current Common European Asylum System means that many asylum-seekers are subject to the national asylum and immigration policies. Without acceptance and legitimate status in Greece, such third-country nationals cannot achieve full socioeconomic integration in the European Union. Moreover, ethnocultural traditions and anti-immigrant discourse in the region have impacted the response of the Greek government towards migration. Therefore, this thesis considers it necessary to examine how Greek citizenship and migration laws inadvertently categorize third-country nationals such as non-EU migrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, and undocumented migrants, into ‘hierarchies of belonging’. Such hierarchies are expressed through the labels of super-citizen, marginal citizen, quasi-citizen, sub-citizen, and un-citizen, originally introduced in Kate Nash’s (2009) research. Social exclusion and access to rights worsen with each category, with the sub-citizen and un-citizen experiencing the greatest marginalization. Recent changes in migration policies illustrate how belonging is constructed along legal, ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic boundaries. Further legal and administrative barriers to acquiring citizenship through naturalization are also manifestations of the country’s reluctance to accept non-Greek individuals, especially those who have not yet culturally assimilated or of a lower socioeconomic status. In turn, the barriers ultimately reinforce hierarchies as third-country nationals face additional challenges to integrate and legally belong in Greece.
Second semester University: Panteion University, Athens
asylum, European Union, Greece, refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, irregular migrations, citizenship, integration