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Edited by Jane Falkingham, Maria Evandrou and Athina Vlachantoni
Edited by K. Bruce Newbold and Kathi Wilson
Edited by Katharyne Mitchell, Reece Jones and Jennifer L. Fluri
Katharyne Mitchell, Reece Jones and Jennifer L. Fluri
Finally, the challenges and opportunities of letting refugees and other social groups arrive are discussed, first by presenting the empirical case of Germany during 2015, when almost 1 million unregistered refugees entered the country. Second, different models of social integration and deepening the understanding of arrival are exhibited. Third, arriving as a concept in a broader perspective, such as that developed by Hannah Arendt, also means remembering and rooting. The new transnational social question invites us to arrive at the current state of the global world by taking over global responsibility.
The chapter deals with the great opportunities for European societies not only to let refugees arrive, but to arrive as society at oneself in the sense of a more adequate self-perception and concept. Three levels are distinguished. First, arriving at oneself includes reflecting the experiences of persecution, displacement and flight during and after the Nazi regime. Second, the treatment of the ‘guest-worker’ generation in Germany and elsewhere during the second half of the twentieth century could be critically reconsidered in terms of arrival. Third, Germany and other countries get the historic opportunity to arrive in Europe in a more substantial and sustainable way. Although the societal and political development after 2015 may invite more sceptical or pessimistic analysis and prognosis, the ‘refugee crisis’ contains a great opportunity to refine the project of a European society in a globalized world.
The chapter reconstructs the events of autumn 2015 and argues that these can be understood as a complex network of rational decisions, spontaneous acts of desperation, courageous actions and tactical behaviour by individual and collective actors: refugees, their non-profit or for-profit assistants, state bodies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and politicians on the local, national and European levels. Some sociological rules such as the ‘unanticipated consequences of purposive social action’ and the Thomas theorem, according to which ‘if men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences’, help to explain these processes.
The chapter analyses the often-cited ‘causes of refuge’ and especially the context of the so-called refugee crisis of 2015. It argues that the approach on the development–migration nexus has to be broadened to analyse the vicious circles of lack of development, organized violence and forced migration. This is considered to be the new transnational social question of the twenty-first century. The chapter especially treats the role of organized violence in its different forms and presents empirical evidence from two broader regions, where its entanglement with lack of development and forced migration could be observed, that is: Central–North America and sub-Saharan–North Africa–Middle East–Europe.
The chapter gives an overview of the topic and issues treated in the book. Three main arguments are presented. First, the dynamics of the refugee events of 2015 reflect the degree of globalization and transnationalization of social relations. In Syria as well as in Europe the global is becoming local and the local is becoming global. Transnational social relations are becoming more and more important. Second, since the 1990s a European refugee regime has been being developed, but its (nice) provisions for refugee protection almost collapsed in face of the organized non-responsibility of EU member states. Third, the networks of refugee- and asylum-oriented organizations and elements of a related transnational social movement compensated the ‘organized non-responsibility’ of national governments.
The chapter deals with the reaction of important groups of political actors and administrative authorities. Concerning asylum and refugee politics, their activities are characterized as ‘organized non-responsibility’, by which tasks and duties are pushed to other collective or corporate actor groups that, at the same time, are blamed for what they are doing. This confusion enabled the corresponding actors to move the responsibilities back and forth between the local, regional or district, federal and EU levels and thus to disguise their own inactivity by pointing to the shortcomings of others – at the expense of the refugees directly affected. As will be shown, due to power relations in the fields of legitimacy there had not been many possibilities to breach this wall of reciprocal paralysis until refugees acted in social networks and civil-society-organized collective action.