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Publikationstyp: Zeitschriftenartikel 3

The Myth of Apolitical Volunteering for Refugees. German Welcome Culture and a New Dispositif of Helping

AutorInnen: Fleischmann, Larissa; Steinhilper, Elias Publikationsjahr: 2017

During the so-called “refugee crisis”, the notion of an unparalleled German hospitality toward asylum seekers circulated within the (inter)national public sphere, often encapsulated by the blurry buzzword “Welcome Culture”. In this article, we scrutinize these developments and suggest that the image of the so-called “crisis” has activated an unprecedented number of German citizens to engage in practices of “apolitical” helping. We argue that this trend has contributed to the emergence of what we term a new dispositif of helping, which embeds refugee solidarity in humanitarian parameters and often avoids an explicit political, spatial, and historical contextualization. This shift has activated individuals from the socio-political centre of society, well beyond the previously committed radical-left, antiracist, and faith-based groups. However, we aim to unmask forms of “apolitical” volunteering for refugees as a powerful myth: the new dispositif of helping comes with ambivalent and contradictory effects that range from forms of antipolitics to transformative political possibilities within the European border regime.

doi: 10.17645/si.v5i3.945 ISSN: 2183–28 Open Access
Fleischmann,Larissa;Steinhilper,Elias (2017): The Myth of Apolitical Volunteering for Refugees. German Welcome Culture and a New Dispositif of Helping. Social Inclusion 5 (3), 17-27. 10.17645/si.v5i3.945.