Gil Thompson

Learning Europe at its borders: how deployments to migration hotspots affect Europeans’ understandings of themselves and society

Berlin Graduate School for Global and Transregional Studies (BGTS)

ESR1 | Twitter: @GilTBTS

PhD defence

Gil Thompson defended his doctoral thesis Socialisation into European professional and political communities: An ethnographic study of seconded national experts deployed by EASO and Frontex to the Lesvos migration hotspot on 8 October 2021.

Current position

Legislative Assistant, 

PhD project

In the context of increased irregular migration, the European Union has been facilitating the secondment/deployment of police, asylum, and other practitioners from their home countries to support national migration management efforts, primarily in Greece, Italy, and Spain. This research focuses on these seconded nationals, asking two questions: (1) how are these secondment schemes perceived by the seconded practitioners and; (2) what do seconded practitioners learn during these secondments. This research is relevant to scholarship on migration hotspots, European identity, and street-level bureaucrats. Methods used are primarily interviews, participant observation, document analysis, and survey research.

  • Supervisor: Markus Jachtenfuchs, Berlin Graduate School for Transnational Studies
  • Co-supervisor: Geoffrey Edwards, POLIS, University of Cambridge


  • Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Brussels


Outside of academia, I have 5 years of professional experience supporting law enforcement, policy makers, and other organisations. I have also lived for at least a year each in Germany, Israel, Switzerland, the UK, and the US. This background helps me build relationships with varied research subjects and understand their unique perceptions of themselves and society. Nationality: American and Israeli.

  • MA in Comparative and International Studies, ETH Zürich and University of Zurich
  • BA in Political Science and Philosophy, St Olaf College




Published Oct. 5, 2017 10:27 AM - Last modified June 1, 2022 10:48 AM