chapter  6
“The State Needs to Protect Itself”: Acts of Citizenship by Asylum Seekers in Hungary
Pages 22

This chapter studies how asylum seekers and asylum policy itself is governed in Hungary. Asylum policy in Hungary transposes very closely European Union directives that aim to make asylum an administrative matter. In its implementation, however, the coherence of asylum policy is threatened. Asylum policy is implemented and conceived in a relational fi eld, involving discussion and contest between different parties. The key relation in Hungary is between the immigration bureaucracy, the Offi ce of Immigration and Nationality (OIN) and the judiciary. Asylum policy is not necessarily coherent, its aims and intentions are challenged and distorted by other actors who have, or who claim, a legitimate right to be involved in questions of asylum. This can lead to the questioning of the extent to which asylum should be considered an administrative and depoliticised issue to be contained within the fi eld of ‘policy’ and not, for instance, an issue of politics and human rights. This questioning amounts to a challenge to the boundaries of ‘the political’ and the privilege of the state, and here its immigration bureaucracy, to mark the limits of politics and who may be counted as political. It is in this questioning that I perceive “acts of citizenship” (Isin & Saward, 2013), which are challenges that seek to question the bordering of the political to a national-scale society with the state at its head.