Civil humanitarianism and the politics of refugee solidarity

Since the summer of 2015, thousands of civil initiatives have emerged in solidarity with forced migrants in Europe. This research project examines how some of these initiatives have engaged in a form of politics that distinguishes them from professional humanitarian actors that have been studied more often. In particular, this project examines how these initiatives have developed over time, what their relations are with institutional actors, and which role they play in the everyday lives of their volunteers. Drawing on ethnographic work with several civil initiatives in Belgium and secondary analyses of similar initiatives across Europe, this project seeks to provide a more general account on the political dimensions of civil humanitarian action.

Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.