A matter of value Exploring what underlies adjudication in the French Court of Asylum

Carolina Kobelinsky


In this paper, I examine the decision-making process in the French Court of Asylum, which reviews appeals about decisions of the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons, granting or refusing refugee status. I consider the relationship between the substantial refusals of the claims and the adjudicators’ con-ception of what asylum is. Drawing on data collected between 2009 and 2011 over 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork at the Court, I argue that refugee status is imagined as an ideal and that it is therefore very difficult to consider real claimants worthy of it.


Decision-making process; asylum courtroom; suspicion; values; ethnography

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