Countering the Asylum Paradox Through Strategic Humanitarianism: Evidence from Safe Passage Activism in Germany

Autor(en): Schwiertz, Helge
Steinhilper, Elias
Stichwörter: activism; humanitarianism; migration; political sociology; social movements; Sociology; solidarity
Erscheinungsdatum: 2021
Volumen: 47
Ausgabe: 2
Startseite: 203
Seitenende: 217
This paper inquires the moral and political ambivalences of migrant support located between contentious politics and humanitarian aid. Comparing Save Me and Seebrucke, two cases of promigrant activism in Germany claiming the safe passage of migrants to Europe, we develop the notion of `strategic humanitarianism', a hybrid form of migrant support, in which actors combine the strategic employment of predominantly depoliticizing, narrow and humanitarian framing with a contentious repertoire of action. It entails deliberately sacrificing a `deep' politicization of fundamental critique against contemporary migration regimes in order to achieve a `wide' politicization and broad consensus for progressive social change. Furthermore, we carve out how distinct political contexts, in this case the issue salience and polarization of migration, influence the dynamics of mobilization and the configuration of humanitarianism and contentious politics. Despite a similar focus, thus, the `strategic humanitarianism' of Save Me has developed a less contentious and disobedient character than Seebrucke.
ISSN: 08969205
DOI: 10.1177/0896920520932215

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