Research Webinar | Leaders or laggards? Barcelona and Madrid and the reception of refugees through multilevel lens
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In the context of the 2015 European Refugee Crisis, the Spanish cities of Barcelona and Madrid advocated for a greater role of cities in the area of asylum-seeker and refugee reception. However, with years both cities have taken different paths as the former has consolidated its leading role while the latter has not. It is in this framework that I wish to uncover the conditions under which cities’ leadership in this area emerge and the implications such leadership has for their relationships with relevant local actors. My paper goes to the heart of the multilevel governance (MLG) debate in migration studies by introducing city leadership as a concept that may elucidate the drivers behind cities (not) taking the initiative to occupy political and policy spaces. By doing so, I contribute to the debate about how cities engage, not always peacefully, with contentious issues such as the policies of reception. I comparatively and qualitatively look at the role of Barcelona and Madrid in the reception of refugees and the implications of such role for the governance of this issue in the period 2015-2019 when mayors of the same political colour governed. My findings show that city involvement in this area does not equal to developing city leadership. For such leadership to emerge internal political and practice-oriented processes permeated by the centre-local relationship are needed.
Juan Carlos Triviño is research fellow at the Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals (IBEI). He holds a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra-Barcelona (Grade: Outstanding – Cum Laude). His research engages with the multilevel governance of immigration with a special focus on urban questions and regulatory governance. His work has been published in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies, The Lancet, Public Administration, American Behavioral Scientist and Revista de Estudios Políticos as well as several edited volumes. He is currently the principal investigator for the Catalan Government-funded project LocalRef: Refugees welcome? The local integration of refugees seen through multilevel lenses. He also participates in several EU-funded research projects such as TiGRE, TransCrisis and Globe. He has done academic stays at the Erasmus Migration and Diversity Institute at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam and the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. His teaching experience relates to immigration and integration policy-making, research methods and comparative politics.