logo

Cosmos

The Centre on Social Movement Studies

logo

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.

Picture description
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

25/08/2017

Donatella Della Porta con Yanis Varoufakis alla 13esima conferenza ESA

alt
Wednesday, August 30th (8pm-9.30pm) professor della Porta, who directs the Center on Social Movement Studies(Cosmos), will dialogue with Yanis Varoufakis, Greek Minister of Finance during the first Tsipras government, about the future of Europe and the social consequences of neoliberal economies

08/06/2017

Call for Papers - Cosmos Conference "The Contentious Politics of Higher Education. Student Movements in Late Neoliberalism"

alt
The Centre on Social Movement Studies, directed by Professor Donatella Della Porta, calls for papers addressing the recent global wave of student protests for a two-days conference to bel held in Florence, at the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS), on 15-16 November 2017.

19/05/2017

Video available for the International Conference – Beyond Borders: Refugees and Struggles in Europe Mobilization, Solidarity and Political Challenges in the Long Summer of Migration

alt
Watch the video of the International Conference – Beyond Borders, which was held at Palazzo Strozzi on May 12, 2017

Publications

Monograph - 2018

Social Movements and Civil War : When Protests for Democratization Fail

Donatella della Porta, Teije Hidde Donker , Bogumila Hall , Emin Poljarevic
This book investigates the origins of civil wars which emerge from failed attempts at democratization. The main aim of this volume is to develop a theoretical explanation of the conditions under which and the mechanisms through which social movements' struggles for democracy ends up in civil war.

Journal Article - 2017

Successful student activism in contemporary Italian universities

Lorenzo Cini
This article assesses the strategies that the Italian student activists adopted in order to influence the revision process of the governance structure of their universities in 2011