One of the criticisms I received on my most recent literature review draft was that I didn’t clearly distinguish between burden-sharing discourse and burden-sharing policy. To help with this distinction, I met with my research mentor Dr. Shinko for 30 minutes on March 7, 2017. Her first comment was that discourse is the sea that affects policy, explaining that the discourse impacts policy, and policy emanates out of the discourse. Dr. Shinko reminded me that, through my literature review, I will observe and conclude which concepts scholars have only partially explored or not explored at all.
From my literature review, we moved to the research I had started, and I showed Dr. Shinko the primary source databases I was using. She recommended I also go to news sources directly, and I told her I was looking at reported quotations within news articles to avoid including media interpretations in my analysis. She reminded me to keep track of dates, for even though my research is not centered around a shift in discourse over a time period, I need to be aware of potential shifts within my context and how the dominant discourse originated from the initial use of it.
From there, we discussed how I’ve been noticing a large discussion on the divides between east vs. west and right vs. left. Because I was unsure whether to include this in my analysis and project, Dr. Shinko advised me to be aware of them and track them as well as include them in my literature review as a potential driver of the burden-sharing discourse. Even though the divisions are more prominent in policy discussion, discourse tracks identity divisions. For example, how did the European Union quota system emerge to handle the Syrian Refugee Crisis? It was a majority western countries’ decision, while eastern countries disagreed and were outvoted. Situating this policy within the context of power relations helps explain how certain players were marginalized and why certain host-country identities may be dominant.
Finally, because my focus is the European Union, I may have to discard my focus on Middle Eastern country identities because of the amount of content on national identity in conjunction with burden-sharing in Europe. Burden-sharing is situated in a national security discourse which is linked to the broader concept of national identity. Therefore, I may have to address the fact that national security could link to the vulnerability being perpetuated in host country identities.
From my current research, I have noticed the dominant discourse is encouraging burden-sharing, while the coalescing discourse is against burden-sharing. However, before I begin my analysis, I will be doing more research to gain more exposure and see what seems to be dominant strands of discourse, where are they located, and what country they are coming from.