ABSTRACT. Germany has received more than 1 million refugees in 2015. While international commentators have admired Chancellor Merkel’s response to this “crisis,” the situation is complex and the German government’s actions and Merkel’s own statements reflect multiple perspectives. In this paper, I apply a dialectical methodology that draws on a philosophical tradition dating back to the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel to interpret the political debate of migration and Germany’s response to the recent migrant crisis. I find that the dialectical approach permits making sense of the contradictory politics and back-and-forth debate related to Germany’s response to the refugee crisis. pp. 64–75

Keywords: refugee crisis; dialectics; refugees; Germany; Europe; Hegel; Angela Merkel

How to cite: Bauder, Harald (2016), “Understanding Europe’s Refugee Crisis: A Dialectical Approach,” Geopolitics, History, and International Relations 8(2): 64–75.

Received 16 January 2016 • Received in revised form 15 February 2016
Accepted 16 February 2016 • Available online 28 February 2016


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Department of Geography and
Graduate Program in Immigration
and Settlement Studies,
Ryerson University, Toronto

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