La búsqueda de asilo en Españapolíticas de refugio, derechos y ciudadanía

  1. Moreno Amador, Gracía María
Supervised by:
  1. Ana María López Sala Director
  2. Cristina J. Gortázar Rotaeche Co-director

Defence university: Universidad Pontificia Comillas

Fecha de defensa: 25 October 2021

  1. Joan Lacomba Vázquez Chair
  2. Inmaculada Serrano Sanguilinda Secretary
  3. Irene Claro Quintáns Committee member
  4. Iker Barbero González Committee member
  5. Gennaro Avallone Committee member

Type: Thesis


The general purpose of this study is to analyze the construction of the refugee category in the Spanish case, exploring the labelling processes and categorizations delineated in refugee policies over the last decades. Likewise, it examines the situation and experiences of asylum seekers in relation to social policies, welfare institutions and how the attribution (or not) of their rights is articulated within the framework of the welfare state, particularly in reception policies. Another central aim of the thesis is to shed light on the role and actions of asylum seekers and civil society in constructing new avenues of support and access to rights based on the notion of belonging and citizenship. A series of research questions have guided this work. These questions have revolved around how the Spanish asylum model has been constructed and its evolution over the last decades, the position of asylum seekers in the framework of the welfare state and the asylum regime, and how these processes are also redefined and contested by civil society actions. The central research question is: How, through labelling processes, administrative and institutional practices, is the category of refugee and the articulation of rights constructed within the asylum regime and the framework of the Spanish welfare state, and its broader relationship with migration and citizenship policies? To this end, this research is based on fieldwork and empirical material collected through ninety in-depth interviews with governmental actors, civil society actors and refugees. These interviews have been combined with the analysis of other documentary sources (reports, historical archives, conference proceedings, etc.) produced by both the administration and social organizations. The purpose of the compilation and elaboration is to trace the genealogy of discourses, policies and practices relating to refuge, to understand how the issue of asylum has been constructed in Spain and to understand the current asylum system from different perspectives, not only from the perspective of those who establish, design and implement asylum policies, but also from the actions and strategies of resistance by civil society and the asylum seekers themselves within the asylum system, in an attempt to address the limits and boundaries of refugee policies. This study shows the close interconnection between the asylum regime and the immigration regime. It also sheds light on the position that asylum seekers occupy in the asylum regime, how the attribution (or not) of their rights is articulated and how exclusionary policies and the creation of irregularity have been constructed. Asylum seekers move between different states, dimensions and scales, both geographically and institutionally, where there are processes of exclusion in one sense and processes of inclusion in another. These processes are also contested by civil society, – seeking to expand the spaces of protection–. In conclusion, the differential recognition and restrictions of rights illuminates the various policy implications and complexities in the construction of processes of both exclusion and inclusion within the organizational structure of the host state's sovereignty regimes and legal frameworks of asylum and aliens.