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The Centre on Social Movement Studies

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Why the refugee crisis is not a refugee crisis

Javier Alcalde

The term “refugee crisis” is still the expression most often used to refer to the increase in the number of people that have been coming to the European Union in recent times seeking asylum. Oftentimes, when we hear or read it, we know instinctively that we do not like it, but we may not be able to explain exactly why not. There are many complementary answers: some of the criticisms focus on the word “crisis” ; others, on the concept of “refugee”; others still, on the combination of the two words; and others, on the absence of alternative words that explicitly state the causes and those responsible for this situation.

Type: Journal Article
Year: 2016

In the context of the European research project “Collective action and the refugee crisis”, I have spent several months interviewing activists who work on the denunciation , solidarity and support of migrants and refugees. Even though they do not all share the same analysis of the causes and solutions, there is one point on which they unanimously agree: the refugee crisis is not actually a crisis of refugees. This term, popularized by the media in the spring and summer of 2015, is still the expression most often used to refer to the increase in the number of people that have been coming to the European Union in recent times seeking asylum. Since then, the vast majority of stakeholders, including politicians, NGOs, international organizations , journalists and university professors in a variety of disciplines have used the expression again and again. And they continue to do so. Oftentimes, when we hear or read it, we know instinctively that we do not like it, but we may not be able to explain exactly why not. As we shall see, there are many complementary answers. Some of the criticisms focus on the word “crisis” ; others, on the concept of “refugee”; others still, on the combination of the two words; and others, on the absence of alternative words that explicitly state the causes and those responsible for this situation.

Javier Alcalde, 2016, "Why the refugee crisis is not a refugee crisis". Peace in Progress 29. Special issue ‘Refugees Welcome’

http://www.icip-perlapau.cat/numero29/articles_centrals/article_central_2/

News

16/06/2018

Martin Portos wins the Juan J. Linz Prize to the Best thesis in Political Science 2017

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Martin Portos was just awarded with the Juan J. Linz Prize to the Best thesis in Political Science 2017 with his tesis “Voicing outrage, contending with austerity. Mobilization in Spain under the Great Recession”, realized under the supervision of prof. Donatella della Porta.

18/05/2018

Donatella della Porta at the Belleuve Forum in Berlin - May 23, 2018

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On May 23rd, 2018, the Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier talks with Donatella della Porta, Christoph Möllers and David Van Reybrouck about anti-politics, anti-establishment and the dangers of indifference to the political to address the 2018 topic of the Forum "Society without Politics - Testing Liberal Democracies".

08/04/2018

Austeridad, capitalismo y conflicto social. Nuevas tendencias en el estudio de los movimientos sociales - An interview with Donatella della Porta

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An interview with Donatella della Porta realized by COES - Centro de Estudios de Conflicto y Cohesión Social

Publications

Edited Volume - 2018

Solidarity Mobilizations in the ‘Refugee Crisis’. Contentious Moves

Donatella della Porta (ed.)
This edited volume ddresses a gap in research on social movements that has disregarded the origins of discontent and overlooks protest as a resource of the powerless; it offers insight into how the movement of refugees across the European Union and elsewhere activates political opportunities; it explores claims to citizenship made by refugees within processes of knowledge production and the mobilization of emotions

Journal Article - 2018

The Passage from Hierarchy to Horizontality: The Self-managed Factory of Vio.Me, Greece

Haris Malamidis
Through fieldwork research conducted in Vio.Me between January and April 2014 and in July 2015, this article examines the self-managed factory of Vio.Me in Greece, one of the most popular examples of these alternative forms of resistance during anti-austerity mobilizations in the country.