Solidarity or not? Humanitarian concern and refugees in Europe

Kontaktperson: Theodoros Rakopoulos

What does provisioning for others do to “hosts’” notions of selfhood and sociality? How is solidarity geared by and coarticulated with “hospitality?” How do we understand notions of inclusion and exclusion in a Europe that is increasingly inimical to its others?

There is a rising discourse accompanied by practices and discourses of solidarity towards the arrivals of people in contemporary Europe, refugees and migrants from the middle-East, South Asia and Africa. There is also much xenophobia and debates of suspicion around these disfranchised people. As anthropologists, we can analyse what motivates people in solidarity practice towards refugees, and how idioms and ideas of solidarity are deployed in provision and welfare towards “the Other”. Amidst a growing NGO sector, solidarity is both mobilized for and against the aid industry, a sophisticated system of charity that often encounters critique; many of these NGOs and their employeers or volunteers are Danish or Norwegian. Alongside this condition, places like the Eastern Aegean islands of Greece have seen a massive tendency towards helping refugees through informal means of a grassroots humanitarianism, often based on sheer empathy.

What does provisioning for others do to “hosts’” notions of selfhood and sociality? How is solidarity geared by and coarticulated with “hospitality?” How do we understand notions of inclusion and exclusion in a Europe that is increasingly inimical to its others?

In a Mediterranean context of financial crisis and people’s forced movement, as well as  a Scandinavian context of relative affluence, students are invited to examine the meanings of solidarity, humanitarianism and charity, as well as the affects and feelings that mobilises people towards a praxis that addresses others in an inclusive, provisioning manner. Solidarity is an idea with a long history in Western thought, but also a practice that has been taking material and political form recently, working as informal welfare towards needing subjects.

In the setting of humanitarian solidarity, that operates beyond market and state and rests upon voluntary work done informally, the formation of group action is an original, collective endeavor. It is a fertile ground for anthropological engagement with otherness and sameness, as well as reflection on the political state of contemporary Europe.

 

Publisert 21. juni 2017 11:17 - Sist endret 21. juni 2017 11:17