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Home of Migrants Built on Sand. EU Political and Legal Discourse on Immigration and Asylum

Author(s): Stefania D’Avanzo

Book Description

Following the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam on 1 May 1999 and the European Council at Tampere in October 1999, the European Union committed itself to developing a common policy on immigration and asylum to ensure more effective management of migration flows to the EU. From 2001 to 2005, Directives were introduced by the EU in order to guarantee refugees and displaced people civil and human rights and promote a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving such persons, thus improving the process of harmonisation. Nevertheless, EU policy and legislation did not prove to be as effective as expected. For example, Europe’s response to the crisis of displaced Iraqis has been hugely inadequate, with European governments failing to fairly share the responsibility for Iraqi refugees with one another and with other countries around the world. This study aims to investigate the extent to which the language employed in the Directives has contributed to the failure to adopt common procedures for guaranteeing refugees civil and human rights. Particularly, vagueness of lexis and legal concepts were investigated. Vagueness in normative texts is a crucial issue. ‘People may not necessarily and not always be aware of vagueness in language use, while in other cases they choose deliberately to be vague. This holds particularly true for the use of vagueness in normative texts which are usually taken to have a high degree of precision’ (Bhatia, Engberg, Gotti and Heller, 2005). It is worth noting that in EU legislation, Directives represent particular legislative instruments involved in EU harmonisation processes.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-4032-3
ISBN-10: 1-4438-4032-7
Date of Publication: 01/09/2012
Pages / Size: 125 / A5
Price: £39.99


Stefania D’Avanzo is a Lecturer of English Language and Linguistics, and English Language and Linguistics for Special Purposes at the University of Naples ‘l’Orientale’, Italy. She holds a PhD in English for Special Purposes and an MA in Linguistics and Sociolinguistics of European Languages from the University of Naples Federico II. She has been a Member of the Naples unit of PRIN, a national research project. Her current research is mainly concerned with legal and institutional discourse, discourse analysis and teaching. She is the author of “European Summaries of Directives on Asylum: Hybridization in Institutional Discourse” in Genre(s) on the Move: Hybridization and Discourse Change in Specialized Communication (2011), and co-author of “Linguistic and Legal Vagueness in EU Directives Harmonising Protection for Refugees and Displaced Persons” in Researching Language and the Law: Textual Features and Translation Issues (2010) and “The Role of Shall and Should in Two International Treaties: The UN Charter (1948) and the European Convention on Human Rights (1950)” in CADAAD Journal.