Rebecca Rotter's research while affiliated with The University of Edinburgh and other places

Publications (12)

Article
The Common European Asylum System aims to establish common standards for refugee status determination among EU Member States. Combining insights from legal and political geography we bring the depth and scale of this challenge into sharp relief. Drawing on interviews and a detailed ethnography of asylum adjudication involving over 850 in-person asy...
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Vulnerable groups’ direct experiences and impressions of British courts and tribunals have often been overlooked by politicians and policy makers (JUSTICE, 2019). This paper takes a geographical, empirical approach to access to justice to respond to these concerns, paying attention to the atmosphere of First Tier Immigration and Asylum Tribunal hea...
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This article elucidates some of the opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinary collaboration in teaching, drawing on our participant observation as both instructors of anthropological methods and honorary students of marine ecology and geomorphology methods on a research training field course. We argue that interdisciplinary methods training...
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There is an absence of absence in legal geography and materialist studies of the law. Drawing on a multi‐sited ethnography of European asylum appeal hearings, this paper illustrates the importance of absences for a fully‐fledged materiality of legal events. We show how absent materials impact hearings, that non‐attending participants profoundly inf...
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This article introduces a special issue on arts-based engagement with migration, comprising articles, reflections, poems and images. The introductory article starts by exploring the ethical, political and empirical reasons for the increased use of arts-based methods in humanities and social sciences research in general, and in migration studies in...
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This article explores two related efforts to transmit and inscribe the knowledge and practices of the Chagossian community in the context of forced displacement to Mauritius and Seychelles, and geographical dispersal between Mauritius, Seychelles, and the UK. The first is the Mauritian government’s nomination of Chagossian sega (an Indian Ocean gen...
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Studies of procedural in-court judicial discretion have highlighted a dilemma between the imperative to reduce it owing to its potential misuse and preserve it owing to its importance in protecting vulnerable groups. This article offers a new framework with which to enter this debate and new quantitative empirical evidence that favours the former p...
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This article critically examines the consequences of different levels of public participation in decision-making processes for chronically disadvantaged and marginalised people. We present a case study of a public consultation commissioned by the UK government as part of a broader study into the feasibility of resettlement of the Chagos Archipelago...
Article
For the thousands of appellants who navigate Britain's asylum appeal courts every year, attending a hearing conducted in a language they do not understand and participating via an interpreter, is usually viewed as a significant disadvantage. The findings of a study that entailed ethnographic and structured observations of over 390 asylum appeal hea...
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Applying a critical heritage studies approach to plants, this article explores how plant knowledge and use, plant exchange, and plant symbolism and materiality feature in the social life of the dispersed Chagossian community in Mauritius, Seychelles, and the UK. First, plant use helps to sustain collective knowledge in new environmental conditions...
Article
In both the academic literature and the public imagination, waiting time is often understood as passive, empty and wasted, particularly when associated with institutional or organisational settings. The purpose of this paper is to challenge this limited conceptualisation, by exploring the experiences of asylum seekers who waited between 2 and 9 yea...
Article
Uncertainty is often deemed to be a quintessential fact of life. The social scientific literature often references a generalised or 'global' uncertainty, akin to a worldview. Far fewer studies, however, discuss the specific effects of 'event' focused uncertainty: how it is managed by groups and individuals, or how this type of uncertainty relates t...

Citations

... Gibb and Good 2013;Liodden 2022;Feneberg et al. 2022), and the formation of professional values and the management of emotions (Affolter 2021a). Many of these studies converge in their demonstration of asylum seekers' structurally disadvantaged position in these administrative and judicial procedures (Eule, Loher, and Wyss 2018;Gill et al. 2021) and highlight the reproduction of an institutionalized culture of mistrust (Fassin and Kobelinsky 2012;Jubany 2017;Affolter 2021b; see also Bohmer and Shuman 2018). I seek to add further comparative insights from Germany to these debates and more firmly contextualize asylum adjudication in the state-citizen relationship inscribed in administrative law. ...
... Such a mosaic of regulatory approaches has already been connected to the social and cultural contexts of law-making including the maintenance of machismo conservative regimes in Chile (Freeman, 2017) and heteronormative, racialized and religious constructs of the family (Hanafin, 2007). Although the law is seen in some respects as an abstract system that gives a lack of attention to material structures that embody social relations (Gill et al., 2021), this extant scholarship implicates the legal regulation of pregnancy as a route to many larger-scale social and cultural goals. This nexus of individual and total clearly connects individual reproductive behaviour to wider questions of policy and power (Chen, 2003). ...
... Hablamos, por tanto, de suscitar procesos sociales a través de metodologías basadas en la creación de relatos materializados en prácticas artísticas. Uno de los principios básicos de esta corriente es su potencial para abordar tanto las causas como los procesos y las consecuencias de los proyectos migratorios (Jeffrey et al., 2019). ...
... To study the inheritance of egg carving technology and the innovation of cultural and creative products is not only to inherit the original egg carving technology in a fresh state but also to continuously innovate and develop the technology on the original basis, so as to make the egg carving level rise to a higher level and improve the artistic grade, artistic value, and artistic appeal of egg carving. In this way, the world can know more about the artistic charm of egg carving, an intangible cultural heritage, and the intangible cultural heritage can be further promoted into contemporary people's life, so as to better inherit egg carving technology, an intangible cultural heritage protection project [5,6]. In order to carry out the innovation of egg carving cultural and creative products, modern technical means must be used. ...
... Although some research shows that asylum officers acknowledge that discretion is "an inescapable feature" of asylum decision-making (Magalhães 2018, 382), there are few quantitative, let alone mixed-method, studies of discretion in asylum control. In research on asylum credibility assessment, discretion is typically examined as a phenomenon relating to the individual decision-maker whose personal judgment, as Kagan put it, "is inconsistent from one adjudicator to the next" (2003,367; see also Herlihy, Gleeson and Turner 2010;Gill et al. 2018). Whether discretion in asylum decision-making can take more collective forms, however, is less understood. ...
... More frequently, I observed the language skills of interpreters (particularly their German) to be insufficient for the accurate translation of applicants' statements -with all the misunderstandings and potential mistakes arising from this. Yet, interpreters' mediating role may not only be detrimental to applicants and their cases but also provide support in a situation of adversity (see Gill et al. 2016). In this hearing, I was introduced as a "neutral observer" and PhD student, bound to the "duty of confidentiality" as all other participants. ...
... In a further exploration of health-related decisions amongst older Ghanaian men, the concept of heritage was actually a reason as to why UK-based participants chose not to use HMs. This was partly due to the lack of availability of preferred herbs (also identified in Pieroni et al., 2008;Jeffery and Rotter, 2016;Ceuterick et al., 2008), but also because it was more difficult to identify a trusted practitioner-"I used herbal mixtures in Ghana but, ever since I have been here (UK) I have not mainly because I cannot get some and also, even if I do, I do not know who made it. Perhaps if I get the original herbal mixtures here in the UK, I will gladly use them." ...
... Waiting as an experience of migrants has been extensively researched in the last decade (Griffiths et al., 2013;Rotter, 2016). Waiting can be used by authorities to exercise control over migrant groups. ...
... Temporal specificity, meaning the presence or absence of a deadline as an assurance of action, is a critical characteristic of waiting (Richards & Rotter, 2013;Rotter, 2016). A deadline allows those waiting to place themselves in relation to the established timeframe (Gasparini, 1995), offering "some degree of control over the situation, through knowledge" (Rotter, 2016, p. 90). ...