German Political Identity and Approaches to Responsibility In German Asylum Policy


This post forms part of our series in showcasing abstracts of presentations featured at our annual postgraduate interdisciplinary conference on refugee and forced migration research, hosted in October 2017 at The University of Melbourne.


Kelly Soderstrom

The norm of responsibility is central to the protection mandate inherent in asylum policy. Norm construction and codification in legislation is tightly linked to political identity, making analysis of the connection between political identity and understandings of responsibility necessary to understand why states choose certain asylum policies.

Political identity itself is understood to exist in a hierarchy, with political identities differing by level of governance (supranational, national, sub-national). This thesis investigates how differing German political identities at each level of governance influence approaches to responsibility in asylum policy.

Using a vertical analysis of German political identity and related approaches to responsibility at three levels (European Union, federal, and Lӓnder) and a case study of the 2015 March for Hope, this thesis will analyse how political identity influences Germany’s overall approach to asylum policy through the different notions of responsibility at each level.


Kelly Soderstrom is a first-year PhD student in International Relations at the University of Melbourne. Before coming to Melbourne, she received her Master’s degree in International and European Politics (Distinction) at the University of Edinburgh. She also spent three years in Germany conducting research into youth immigrant integration and supervising community engagement projects in social sustainability.

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