IMISCOE Web Directory - Lea Müller-Funk

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The project SYRMAGINE departs from the assumption that refugees’ attempts to flee to a certain country are usually preceded by imaginations about possible destination countries. These imaginations not only contribute to refugees’ decisions where to seek asylum but also have an effect on how refugees experience realities when they eventually arrive in the destination country. The project focusses on how Europe is imagined by Syrian refugees settling in Syria’s neighbouring countries and examines how refugees’ imaginations affect their attitudes to seek – or not to seek – asylum in European countries. While the project focuses on imaginations of Europe, it also includes the perceptions of Syrians who do not intend to migrate further and the imaginations of other possible destination countries and a possible return to Syria in comparison. SYRMAGINE aims at contributing to the academic literature on the active role of aspirations and imaginations in migration decision-making and on causes of forced migration (Castles 2003) by (1) investigating the relation between refugees’ imaginations and decision-making; and by studying how the present country of residence compares to Europe (and other countries) as a destination choice; 2) by examining how refugees inform themselves about social and political realities in possible destination countries. The project adopts an interdisciplinary mixed-method approach combining individual surveys, semi-directive interviews and an online ethnography in two recipient and ‘transit’ countries of Syrian refugees in the Middle East.
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