The European Refugee Controversy: Civil Solidarity, Cultural Imaginaries and Political Change

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Editorial | Open Access

The European Refugee Controversy: Civil Solidarity, Cultural Imaginaries and Political Change


  • Robin Vandevoordt Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, UK / Department of Sociology, University of Antwerp, Belgium
  • Gert Verschraegen Department of Sociology, University of Antwerp, Belgium


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Abstract:  In the summer of 2015, a wave of solidarity washed across the European continent as 1.3 million refugees arrived. While many recent studies have explored how ‘ordinary’ men and women, NGOs and governments momentarily reacted to the arrival of refugees, this issue examines whether the arrival of refugees and the subsequent rise of civil support initiatives has also resulted in more structural cultural and political changes. The contributions assembled in this issue all delve into the enduring implications of Europe’s ‘long summer of migration’. They address four sites of change: the dynamics between civil and state actors involved in refugee protection; the gradual politicisation of individual volunteers and organisations; the reproduction of pre-existing cultural imaginaries; and the potential of cities to foster new forms of solidarity.

Keywords:  asylum; civil society; Europe; politicisation; refugees; refugee protection; solidarity; volunteering

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v7i2.2260


© Robin Vandevoordt, Gert Verschraegen. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.