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Giving Aid Inside the Home

Humanitarian House Visits, Performative Refugeehood, and Social Control of Syrians in Jordan

Ann-Christin Wagner

ABSTRACT

Through a hospitality lens, the article looks at an Evangelical grassroots organization’s practice of house visits to Syrian refugees in Mafraq, Jordan. It begins by situating the hosting practices of European volunteers in the context of Mafraq’s multi-layered NGO environment and within the emerging literature on the role of transnational support networks in faith-based humanitarianism. A review of philosophical and anthropological literatures reveals how power dynamics and bordering practices shape the hospitality encounter. Its function as a scale-shifter between the local and the national makes “hospitality” well-suited for the study of displacement. Subsequent parts of the article explore volunteers’ acts of infringement on Syrians’ hospitality code that allow them to “contain” refugees’ demands for aid. The final section revisits Boltanski’s theory of a “politics of pity” in communicating distant suffering. The set-up of house visits forces refugees to perform “suffering” which provides the raw material for volunteers’ moving testimonies back home.

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Hospitality

A Timeless Measure of Who We Are?

Elena Isayev

ABSTRACT

This article provides a historical perspective to understand better whether hospitality persists as a measure of society across contexts. Focusing on Homer and later Tragedians, it charts ancient literature’s deep interest in the tensions of balancing obligations to provide hospitality and asylum, and the responsibilities of well-being owed to host-citizens by their leaders. Such discourse appears central at key transformative moments, such as the Greek polis democracy of the fifth century BCE, hospitality becoming the marker between civic society and the international community, confronting the space between civil and human rights. At its center was the question of: Who is the host? The article goes on to question whether the seventeenth-century advent of the nation state was such a moment, and whether in the twenty-first century we observe a shift towards states’ treatment of their own subjects as primary in measuring society, with hospitality becoming the exception to be explained.

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Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Mette Louise Berg

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Interdisciplinary Approaches to Refugee and Migration Studies

Lessons from Collaborative Research on Sanctuary in the Changing Times of Trump

Sara Vannini, Ricardo Gomez, Megan Carney, and Katharyne Mitchell

ABSTRACT

We reflect on the experience of a cross-disciplinary collaboration between scholars in the fields of geography, anthropology, communication, and information studies, and suggest paths for future research on sanctuary and migration studies that are based on interdisciplinary approaches. After situating sanctuary in a wider theoretical, historical, and global context, we discuss the origins and contemporary expressions of sanctuary both within and beyond faith-based organizations. We include the role of collective action, personal stories, and artistic expressions as part of the new sanctuary movement, as well as the social and political forms of outrage that lead to rekindling protest and protection of undocumented immigrants, refugees, and other minorities and vulnerable populations. We conclude with a discussion on the urgency for interdisciplinary explorations of these kinds of new, contemporary manifestations of sanctuary, and suggest paths for further research to deepen the academic dialogue on the topic.

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Introduction

A Word of Welcome

Yousif M. Qasmiyeh

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Introduction to the Issue

Encountering Hospitality and Hostility

Mette Louise Berg and Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh

ABSTRACT

This introductory article to the inaugural issue of Migration and Society reflects on the complex and often contradictory nature of migration encounters by focusing on diverse dynamics of hospitality and hostility towards migrants around the world and in different historical contexts. Discourses, practices, and policies of hospitality and hostility towards migrants and refugees raise urgent moral, ethical, political, and social questions. Hospitality and hostility are interlinked, yet seemingly contradictory concepts and processes, as also acknowledged by earlier writers, including Derrida, who coined the term hostipitality. Drawing on Fiddian-Qasmiyeh’s work and on feminist scholars of care, we argue for the need to trace alternative modes of thought and action that transcend and resist the fatalistic invocations of hostipitality. This requires an unpacking of the categories of host and guest, taking us from universalizing claims and the taxonomy of host-guest relations to the messiness of everyday life and its potential for care, generosity, and recognition in encounters.

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“It’s Being, Not Doing”

Hospitality and Hostility between Local Faith Actors and International Humanitarian Organizations in Refugee Response

Olivia J. Wilkinson

ABSTRACT

Local faith actors are deeply involved in assisting refugees around the world. Their place in refugee response, however, can be in parallel with and, at times, in disagreement with the efforts of international humanitarian organizations. Focusing on the interactions between local faith actors and refugees and local faith actors and international organizations, the lenses of hospitality and hostility are used to analyze the tensions between these types of actors. Through a review of the literature and interviews with 21 key informants, I show that processes of marginalization occur to the extent that local faith actors lose their positions of host to the dominance of the international humanitarian system, and feelings of hostility ensue. This demonstrates to international actors why they might be ill received and how they can approach partnerships with local faith actors in more diplomatic ways.

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Rachel Rosen and Sarah Crafter

ABSTRACT

This article analyzes coverage of separated child migrants in three British tabloids between the introduction of the Dubs Amendment, which committed to relocating unaccompanied minors to the UK, and the demolition of the unofficial refugee camp in Calais. This camp has been a key symbol of Europe’s “migration crisis” and the subject of significant media attention in which unaccompanied children feature prominently. By considering the changes in tabloid coverage over this time period, this article highlights the increasing contestation of the authenticity of separated children as they began arriving in the UK under Dubs, concurrent with representations of “genuine” child migrants as innocent and vulnerable. We argue that attention to proximity can help account for changing discourses and that the media can simultaneously sustain contradictory views by preserving an essentialized view of “the child,” grounded in racialized, Eurocentric, and advanced capitalist norms. Together, these points raise questions about the political consequences of framing hospitality in the name of “the child.”

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Migration and Citizenship in “Athens of Crisis”

An Interview with Vice Mayor Lefteris Papagiannakis

Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou and Nina Papachristou

ABSTRACT

In this interview with UCL’s Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou, Lefteris Papagiannakis explains his role as Athens’ vice mayor for migrants and refugees. He discusses the city’s responses to the arrival of thousands of refugees and migrants in the last few years. He reflects on the complex relationship of the municipality of Athens with non-government support networks, such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations, as well as autonomous local activists, in providing support services to migrants. Papagiannakis also addresses how Athens negotiates its support for these groups in the current European anti-immigrant climate, and the relationship between the Greek economic crisis and the so-called “refugee crisis.”

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Mohamed Assaf and Kate Clanchy

ABSTRACT

Five poems written by Mohamed Assaf (a young Syrian boy who currently lives in Oxford with his family and studies at Oxford Spires Academy) under the mentorship of the poet Kate Clanchy. The introduction and poems themselves offer a reflection on Mohamed’s old and new place(s) in the world, and the signifi cance of writing as a way of responding to, and resisting, “refugeedom.”