Working Paper
Securitized reception: revisiting contexts confronting Afghan and Vietnamese forced migrants

In a 2017 UNU-WIDER project, ‘Forced migration and inequality’, one of us collaborated on a comparison of Afghan and Vietnamese refugee resettlement across four Western countries. In the light of the Taliban return to power in August 2021, we revisit the contributions of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies special issue that resulted from that earlier project.

In doing so, we re-evaluate the framework of contexts of reception that shape the resettlement of (forced) migrants: governance policies, labour markets, and coethnic communities. We consider this framework alongside securitization—the construction of an actor as a threat that must be resolved.

Rather than being a function of governance, we argue, securitization can precede and shape each context of reception. Linking to current developments in Afghanistan, we conclude that a framework of securitized reception illuminates the challenges and possibilities confronting forced migrants.