International Refugee Law Between Scholarship and Practice

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Current challenges to the traditionally privileged position of law in both refugee policy and refugee studies invite scholars to consider carefully the approach we take to our craft. We argue that refugee law scholarship is surrounded by thin walls, as researchers broker the ‘dual imperative’ to simultaneously advance knowledge and protection in a field heavily influenced by policy interests and networks of practitioners that actively take part in, and promote, scholarly production. These close links with the policy world continue to shape the research agenda, scholarly positions and methodologies applied within the research field. This article departs from Bourdieusian field theory and legal sociology to offer a prism through which to look at the forces that influence refugee law scholarship and the implications for the field. We argue that greater sensitivity to the underlying dynamics of our profession is essential, not only to ensure more inclusivity in the community of scholars and expand the current canon of refugee law, but ultimately also to sustain claims to policy relevance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Refugee Law
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)181–199
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2020

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