Department or Program



This thesis focuses on the historical, social, and political constructions of the category of the refugee, specifically focusing on the recent “refugee crisis” in Greece. In the nearly seventy years since the UNHCR’s 1951 Convention, the historically determined definition of the refugee has yet to change in accordance with the political and geographic landscapes of the world. As a result, the lack of parallel between legal frameworks and the increased global flow of refugees have catalyzed protracted refugee situations. In the wake of the 2016 EU-Turkey Statement, one such protracted situation has emerged in Greece. As of Winter 2019, nearly 15,000 thousand individuals seeking asylum are being held on the Greek “hotspot” islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros, and Kos due to the country’s “containment policy.” The response to the migration “crisis,” in addition to the neoliberal management of the country’s economic depression, contextualize the space for communication and agency in the public sphere. Employing critical and anthropological theory, this thesis explores the permissible forms of communication and existing actors included in the public sphere, and how this in turn affects the agency and representation of asylum-seekers, migrants, and refugees in Greece. In particular, this thesis focuses on how solidarity initiatives which seek to dismantle traditional hierarchical dynamics of humanitarian aid not only work to bolster the agency of those they aid, but also renegotiate the realms of the “social” and the “political.”

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Danforth, Loring

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

Open Access

Available to all.