Emotional Responses to the Plight of Syrian Refugees: A Critical Examination of Humanitarian and Solidarity Efforts

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:30-17:20
TG08 Society and Emotions (host committee)

Language: English

The desperate plight of millions of Syrian refugees in 2015-2016 has resulted in countless humanitarian initiatives in Western countries. Although these efforts vary significantly, they all rely uponemotional registers” (Goodman, 2009) to generate support from Western publics. This panel seeks papers that will critically examine the emotional appeals formulated by western humanitarian and solidarity efforts to assist Syrian refugees, as well as the emotions they invoke in the westerner volunteers and activists who are committed to assisting them. The aim of the panel is to provide a nuanced portrait of the emotions they invoke, as they assist Syrian refugees to settle and integrate in Western host-countries. Papers can focus on formal and informal efforts and programs. In keeping with the ISA “Power, violence and justice: Reflections, responses, responsibilities” theme, questions that will be explored on this panel include:

  • How do we interrogate the “affective performativity” (Chouliraki, 2013) of these humanitarian and solidarity efforts?
  • What primary emotional states (i.e. vulnerability, resilience, gratitude) are attributed to the refugees being assisted and what does this reveal about relations of power and justice?
  • How do humanitarian and solidarity efforts transcend or reinforce the liberal notions of tolerance and inclusion in their responses to the refugees?
  • What do the expressions of empathy and compassion reveal about humanitarian and solidarity responses and responsibilities?  
  • What emotions do refugees articulate in relation to various humanitarian and solidarity efforts that are set up to help them? 
Session Organizer:
Gada MAHROUSE, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
Mariolina GRAZIOSI, University of Milan, Italy
Oral Presentations
Saving By Drowning: The Politics of Compassion in Asylum Policy Discourse
Ala SIRRIYEH, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
Examining Inspirational Narratives of Refugee Success
Gada MAHROUSE, Concordia University, Canada
Experiencias Laborales Contemporáneas y Nuevas Técnicas De Entrenamientos Corporales. Un Análisis Desde Las Sensibilidades Sociales
Jorge DUPERRÉ, Universidad Nacional de San Luis, Argentina; Francisco FALCONIER, Universidad Nacional de Villa María, Argentina
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