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Refugee Hospitality Encounters in Northern Portugal

“Cultural Orientations” and “Contextual Protection”

Elizabeth Challinor

This article discusses the legal and institutional framework of refugee hospitality in Portugal. This sets the context for an analysis of how hospitality encounters take place in northern towns between asylum seekers, refugees, voluntary hosting institutions, public services, and volunteers. The aim is to enquire into the conflicting expectations, morals, and values of these different people and institutions, and into how they are managed and negotiated in practice. Through focusing on the “moral subjectivities” of individuals, the data elucidates the tensions that arise between charity- based and rights-based approaches, how misunderstandings arise and are avoided through engaging in “contextual protection,” and how linear transitions from hospitality to hostility cannot be presumed.