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Session Overview
RN35_10b: Lived Citizenship and Humanitarianism in Practice
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Tetiana Havlin, University of Siegen
Location: BS.G.27
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Ground Floor Oxford Road

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A Mexican Approach to a Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Caravans in Tijuana

Olivia Teresa Ruiz

El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Mexico

The arrival of migrant caravans from Central America to Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico in November of 2018 has given rise to a wide range of reactions – from sympathy and solidarity to hostility and calls to expel the migrants by force. As such, they seem to mirror what is happening across the border in San Diego, California, in the United States.

Focusing on discourses and actions of civil society (neighborhood organizations, media) and local government (statements by municipal authorities, municipal immigration measures) in Tijuana, this paper aims for a more general comparison of Mexican and US reactions to the immigrant caravans. It argues that while some of the responses in Tijuana reflect those across the border, there are also differences. Thus, it cautions against seeing Mexican reactions through a United States (or, more generally, first world) lens and addresses some of the particular contextual issues shaping responses to the caravans in the city and Mexico at large.

An accompaniment model – experiences from a Humanitarian Corridor

Ilaria Schnyder von Wartensee, Clemens Sedmak

University of Notre Dame, United States of America

In January 2017 prominent religious organizations in Italy partnered with the government to establish a “humanitarian corridor,” a legal and safe pathways towards citizenship, for a selected group of refugees. The program is committed to resettle 500 Eritreans, South Sudanese and Somalis from Ethiopian refugee camps to communities and families in Italy within the course of a year; the refugees are distributed all over Italy and the program follows a personalized method of accompaniment whereby faith-based host families and host communities welcome and support small groups of migrants. We organize a research project around the question: does this accompaniment model work?

Many migrants are welcomed in Temporary Reception Centres (CAS), implemented by Prefectures, which are often overcrowded and where a system of accompaniment is not implemented. Accompaniment has been suggested as an alternative approach to integration since large scale “administration” of migrants has led to significant problems; accompaniment has also been promoted because of the suspicion that “integration” is a term that more often than not involves invisible violence, forcing migrants to reorient themselves. Nonetheless, there are major challenges with this contested concept and the approach.

We want to present findings on the challenges of this accompaniment- approach . We will provide a) an overview over the Humanitarian Corridor, b) a discussion of the relevant literature on accompaniment with special reference to integration, c) a discussion on the role of the religious factor and spirituality as behavior-shaping and bridge-building of refugees families and hosting families. d) summary of our research in Italy, e) some recommendations for policy-making.

Volunteer Work as Moral and Emotional Labour among Newcomer Mothers in Canada

Camilla C Nordberg

University of Helsinki, Finland

Previous research has identified a range of individual level motives for getting involved in voluntary work. However, this article draws attention to state structures and institutional arrangements for producing volunteering regimes that govern people and activities within a context of unpaid work. The paper is using data from an ethnographic study among 15 newcomer mothers in a medium-sized Canadian city, asking, firstly, what the rationales are for newcomer mothers to engage in volunteering and, secondly, how volunteering enable or constrain citizenisation for newcomer women with small children. Volunteering is arguably not targeting all residents in the same way. Newcomers are typically encouraged to volunteer in order to gain ‘Canadian experience’ despite the strains this form of precarious, unpaid work puts on their everyday life. The paper draws on participatory observations of volunteer work in refugee reception, a socio-political landscape that highly depends on the moral and emotional labor of volunteering.

Second-generation Youths: Experiences of Political Participation in Italy

Veronica Riniolo

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy

In Italy the political participation of second-generation youths is still an unexplored subject. In the light of this, my research explores the dynamics and the ways second generation young adults (18-35 year olds) participate actively in Italian politics. In the specific, I address the following questions: how do second generations in Italy manage to have their voice heard in the public sphere? What kind of relationship and collaboration is there between young activists, the institutions and the other players of the civil society (such as third-sector organizations)? And, finally, are there differences between the activism of first and second generations?

My research draws from extensive fieldwork conducted in different Italian cities between January 2017 and January 2019. It is based on 55 in-depth and semi-structures interviews to young second generation activists and various representatives from the institutions and civil society involved in the activities of mobilisation of young activists and on participant observation carried out on the occasion of key events. Despite it is not possible to talk of a common collective identity, the research highlights some new dynamics of activism and paths of empowerment of the young activists involved. However, the investigation shows a structural weakness of the movements of the young adults. Indeed the role of other players, both institutional and from civil society, in supporting their activism remains preponderant and essential. Finally, the research highlights differences between first generations and second generations activism.

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