Two Worlds of Solidarity Activism? Comparing Engagement in Solidarity with Refugees in Italy and Germany

Monday, 16 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Priska DAPHI, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt / Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
Lorenzo ZAMPONI, Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy
In the last few years, an increasing number of migrants sought asylum in Europe. This phenomenon triggered a broad range of collective actions including grassroots activities and initiatives in solidarity with refugees, self-organised protests led by refugees at the borders and in camps, and transnational campaigns demanding changes in European policies. This paper compares engagement in solidarity with refugees in two European countries, Italy and Germany, with different roles within the so-called European refugee crisis: While Italy constitutes the second “country of first arrival” (after Greece) for refugees that come to Europe by sea, Germany next to other Northern European countries represents for many the place of destination. Based on qualitative interviews and on survey data we observe similarities with regards to the forms of action, with the prevalence of localised, solidarity-oriented direct social actions in both countries. The two countries however differ in two respects: first, claim-oriented protest action is more prominent in the Italian case than in the German. Second, while direct social actions in Italy remains largely focused on covering the basic needs, the focus in Germany has shifted since 2016 from basic needs to addressing longer term issues such as achieving asylum and access to education and work.