Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Global Studies Program


Nadia El-Shaarawi

Second Advisor

Maple Razsa


In 2015, the world experienced the greatest flow of migrations since World War II. During that year, more than one million people entered Europe, the majority of whom werefleeing civil war and political unrest in the countries of Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Eritrea, aswell as many other places. The quantity of refugees was unprecedented and challenged theexisting borders of Europe. Some countries on the continent were willing to accept newcomers,while others acted to keep them out. One tactic developed by European Union (EU) policymakers to manage the migration flows was the EU-Turkey Deal, which was implemented onMarch 20, 2016. Under the E.U-Turkey Deal, any person who arrived irregularly from Turkey tothe Aegean Islands in Greece would be immediately deported back to Turkey and then berequired to apply for asylum there, before entering a system for eventual relocation to EUmember states. One of the Aegean Islands that has become central to conflict over the EUTurkeyDeal is Lesvos, an island a mere 4.1 miles from Turkey. In this thesis, I argue that theEU-Turkey Deal, rather than providing a solution to the surge in migration, is creating a systemof layered containment that in turn results in consequences for the health and well-being ofrefugees stuck on Lesvos indefinitely because of this policy. Additionally, I argue that because ofthe relatively limited presence of the Greek state, a complicated system of humanitarian aid andsolidarity initiatives has arisen to provide aid to refugees while they live within the system ofcontainment. I base my argument on data collected through participant observation, social mediaanalysis and a series of semi-structured interviews that took place on Lesvos in January 2018.


immigration, migration, emigration, refugees, deportation, asylum

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