Seeing the refugee: a vantage point from the middle ground
Russell, Elizabeth Anne
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The vast number of refugees in the world represents a very real, quantifiable, and troublesome "problem" for mainstream scholars of International Relations (IR). Mainstream IR is not able to address the problem of the refugee because of its emphasis on the state as a central actor and its inattention to justice in an international system. This thesis argues that the approaches of the English School and normative theory might come together to create a "via media" or middle ground which better addresses the problem of the refugee in international relations than mainstream IR has to date. While both approaches have limitations, the concept of international society and order versus justice debate of the English School compliments the attention given by normative theory to state responsibility and justice concerns of normative theory. The English School and normative theory can work in tandem to provide a middle ground which can directly address the problem of the refugee. The two approaches together provide a better way to start the conversation concerning the refugee.