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The Politics of CompassionImmigration and Asylum Policy$
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Ala Sirriyeh

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781529200423

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529200423.001.0001

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The Emotional Politics of Immigration and Asylum

The Emotional Politics of Immigration and Asylum

(p.19) 2 The Emotional Politics of Immigration and Asylum
The Politics of Compassion

Ala Sirriyeh

Policy Press

This chapter examines the emotional politics of immigration and asylum policy. It first considers the role of emotions in social relations and in public life, with particular emphasis on the so-called affective turn in the social sciences and the relationship between emotion and reason. It then explores the role of emotions in immigration and asylum policy before defining and analysing the emotion of compassion. It also charts the rise of the politics of compassion in contemporary political discourse, along with the opportunities and challenges this produces for asylum and immigration policy. Finally, it looks at the proposal that a notion of compassion based on proximity and solidarity rather than distance and pity is more conducive to the realisation of social justice. The chapter argues that we need to take into account the role of ‘humanising’ emotions in the support and contestation of restrictive immigration policies.

Keywords:   emotional politics, asylum policy, emotions, social relations, reason, immigration policy, compassion, solidarity, social justice

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