How do local actors interpret, enact and contest policy? An analysis of local government responses to meeting the needs of Syrian refugees in Turkey
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CitationLowndes, V. & Karakaya Polat, R. (2020). How do local actors interpret, enact and contest policy? An analysis of local government responses to meeting the needs of Syrian refugees in Turkey. Local Government Studies, 1-25. doi:10.1080/03003930.2020.1825386
Although 98% of Turkey’s 3.6 million Syrian refugees live outside camps, municipalities lack formal authority to initiate policies, while receiving no government funding for refugees. Drawing on interpretive policy analysis (IPA), the article unpacks the empirical puzzle of how formally weak local governments respond to refugee needs. IPA expects policy to be constituted through diverse sets of local meanings. Case studies in three districts in Istanbul revealed distinctive local narratives, some of which consolidated the national agenda of ‘hospitality’ while others focused on equal rights and integration. Municipal narratives reflected particular local contexts, selectively mobilizing deeper governing traditions. Local interpretations were enacted in specific approaches to refugee service delivery. Working with local NGOs, municipalities accessed international funds, despite national government’s vociferous critique of EU refugee policy. Even in an increasingly authoritarian setting, refugee policy was being constituted through multiple and contingent processes of local government interpretation.
SourceLocal Government Studies
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