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Eddie Bruce-Jones

This chapter outlines out some of the ways in which the concept of ‘burden sharing’ has been considered within international refugee law. As it would be misleading to insist on too rigid a genealogy of the term ‘burden sharing’, given the far-reaching potential for application of such a concept within international refugee law theory and practice, the first section identifies the defining ways in which the concept is used. The second section critically interrogates the logics that underlie the commonplace notion of ‘the burden’ of burden sharing and postulates a different framework of understanding the concept. The chapter ultimately argues that, if the ‘burden’ represents a cost, then it is more aptly described as the cost of bordering logics, rather than the cost of accommodating refugee migration, and that the social, historical, political and moral dimensions of this cost should be urgently evaluated.