(Re)constructing a hostile environment: political claims making and the primary definers of a refugee ‘crisis'

Thomas Montgomery*, Francesca Calò, Simone Baglioni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: In this article focused upon the UK context, the authors sought to better understand how political elites shaped public debate to reinforce rather than challenge the hostile policy environment for those seeking asylum. Design/methodology/approach: The authors undertook a political claims analysis (Koopmans and Statham, 1999) focussing on a venue that has been pivotal in shaping the discourse around asylum issues in the UK, namely the print media. This work adopts a theoretical frame informed by the work of Stuart Hall to uncover the extent to which debates on asylum during the key period of the refugee emergency in Europe were shaped by political elites. Findings: The study’s findings reveal the extent to which political elites acted as “primary definers” of the “crisis” and utilised that position to cast those arriving in Europe as a threat to be managed. Originality/value: This research offers a contemporary worked example of political claims analysis in a topical subject area that colleagues across disciplines and contexts may find informative for their own research agendas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-676
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Issue number7-8
Early online date31 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2023


  • media
  • crisis
  • refugee
  • claims making
  • political elites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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