09 Feb

Call for Papers: Volunteering for Refugees: Between Integration, Humanitarianism, and Political Action

Call for Papers – Special Issue
Volunteering for Refugees:
Between Integration, Humanitarianism, and Political Action

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Recent years have seen the emergence of a new actor in refugee policy. Volunteers have played a crucial role in the facilitation of arrival and provision of services to forced migrants in countries of the Global North. While the protection, reception and integration of refugees classically falls into the domain of the nation-state, the recent humanitarian refugee crisis in Europe has brought out significant sections of the population to support the new arrivals. Beyond Europe, volunteers have also played an increasingly important role in helping refugees locally, from supporting them in the resettlement process, to providing legal counselling. This public engagement in support of refugees, while not completely new, is unprecedented in its current scope. Sometimes, engagement has been organised by or in cooperation with more established civil society actors like NGOs and social movements but often it has also sprung up spontaneously. While so-called humanitarian volunteering tourism has gained some academic scrutiny in recent years, volunteering for refugees in the Global North has eluded most analysis thus far. Adding to classic actors like the state and NGOs as well as refugees themselves, volunteering challenges both governance and resilience approaches to refugee integration, protection, and politics. Particularly amidst the failure of traditional institutions, volunteering brings unexplored aspects to refugee policy with civil society’s social links, informal practices and grassroots politics, to name just a few.

Volunteers working for refugees are active in a wide variety of tasks and are motivated by a broad spectrum of factors. Images of volunteers distributing donated food and clothes to new arrivals and rescuing refugees on European shores were broadcast around the world. More recently, lawyers have volunteered to support refugees at US airports in response to the immigration ban. Through more mundane tasks like language teaching, assisting with administrative paper work and offering housing, volunteers often provide help that is less publicly visible,  but at the very heart of civil society. At the same time, civil society itself undergoes a process of re-evaluation as it opens up to newcomers and at times, becomes more radical. Volunteer assistance to refugees often oscillates between a humanitarian attitude and an approach directed at political change, invoking notions of global connectedness and solidarity by pointing to the responsibility of the Global North. These volunteers include citizens, non-citizens and refugees themselves and cover a broad spectrum of society, from political activists to people motivated by humanitarian reason, to locals focussed on providing integration support. Volunteering for refugees therefore has many points of reference with sometimes contradicting goals.

So far, we know very little about the role that volunteers and civil society play in refugee policy, especially in international comparison. This special issue, which will be submitted to a major migration-related journal, is intended to begin a discussion on the potential and pitfalls of the volunteering movement in refugee policy.  The aim of this collection of works is to conceptualize the different aspects within this new field based on a broad and varied foundation of research. We are therefore seeking empirically based contributions that discuss volunteering for refugees around the world. We welcome qualitative case studies, quantitative studies, and comparative studies which may utilize any theoretical or methodological framework.

The special issue will be the result of a collaborative process. We invite all contributors to take part in a workshop held in Berlin in June, 2017. Travel and accommodation will be covered. Travel to Berlin from outside Europe may only be partially covered; however, we encourage contributors who do not see themselves in a position to cover these costs to apply nonetheless as we will do our best to accommodate their participation.


Please submit proposals of no more than 200 words with names and short biographies of all authors by February 28th 2017 (deadline) to email hidden; JavaScript is required and email hidden; JavaScript is required.



28.2.2017 – Deadline for Proposals

06.3.2017 – Participation confirmation

– Submission of proposal to journal

28.5.2017 – Deadline first draft

mid-June 2017 – Workshop in Berlin

September 2017 – Deadline final draft, submissions to journal

2018 – Publication


Dr. Serhat Karakayali, Berlin Institute for Migration Research (BIM), Humboldt University

Dr. J. Olaf Kleist, Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS), University of Osnabrück


This Call for Papers is part of the ‘Volunteering for Refugees in Europe’ Project, funded by Gerda-Henkel Foundation.  http://efa-studie.weebly.com/efa-balkan.html


03 Feb

Mitglied geworden im ‚Rat für Migration‘ und bei ‚Oxfam Deutschland e.V.‘

Ich freue mich, in den letzten Monaten in zwei großartige Organisationen aufgenommen worden zu sein.

Oxfam ist eine entwicklungs- und menschenrechtspolitische Organisation, die mit Büros weltweit vertreten ist und sich seit einigen Jahren auch in Deutschland mit Kampagnen und Lobbyarbeit für Schutz von und Zugang zu Ressourcen, für Demokratie und Gerechtigkeit einsetzen. Dazu gehört auch der Einsatz für die Rechte von Migranten und Flüchtlingen. Ich freue mich sehr, in den etwa 35 Personen umfassenden Verein aufgenommen worden zu sein.

„Der Rat für Migration e.V.
 ist ein bundesweiter Zusammenschluss von über 130 Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftlern. Er sieht seine zentrale Aufgabe in einer öffentlich kritischen Begleitung der Politik in Fragen von Migration und Integration. Seit seiner Gründung setzt er sich mit seinen Publikationen, Auftritten in der Öffentlichkeit und Stellungnahmen in den Medien für eine differenzierte, demokratische und weitsichtige politische Gestaltung von Migration und Integration ein.“*
Ich werde mich hier insbesondere in der Sektion „Migration, Flucht und europäische Grenzregime“ engagieren.

*Selbstbeschreibung des Rats für Migration


17 Nov

New Monograph, out now: ‚Political Memories and Migration: Belonging, Society, and Australia Day‘ (Palgrave)

This book explores the relationship between political memories of migration and the politics of migration, following over two hundred years of commemorating Australia Day. References to Europeans’ original migration to the continent have been engaged in social and political conflicts to define who should belong to Australian society, who should gain access, and based on what criteria. These political memories were instrumental in negotiating inherent conflicts in the formation of the Australian Commonwealth from settler colonies to an immigrant society. By the second half of the twentieth century, the Commonwealth employed Australia Day commemorations specifically to incorporate new arrivals, promoting at first citizenship and, later on, multiculturalism. The commemoration has been contested throughout its history based on two distinct forms of political memories providing conflicting modes of civic and communal belonging to Australian politics and policies of migration. Introducing the concept of Political Memories, this book offers a novel understanding of the social and political role of memories, not only in regard to migration.

More Information and (pre)order at Palgrave


“What makes memories political, and what does politics do to memory?  In this important book, Olaf Kleist develops the concept of political memory to understand the role of memory in migration, and vice versa.  This is an enormously sophisticated work of both high theory and close empirical analysis, and makes an outstanding contribution to the growing field of memory studies, with implications far beyond the issue (migration) and case (Australia) it examines.” (Professor Jeffrey Olick, University of Virginia)


“In this book Olaf Kleist has produced a tour de force for migration historians and theorists of memory alike. He brings a fresh German perspective to the key debates about remembrance, migration and belonging in Australia by exploring the history of Australia Day commemoration from a political science perspective. By using a concept called ‘political memory’ he not only explores the inherently political nature of remembering but also the way memories have impact in various political arenas across time, such as government policies and practice, and how these in turn influence memory work in the present.  In doing so he makes a vital contribution to the contemporary concerns about how we imagine ‘belonging’ in the increasingly culturally diverse societies of the world in the twenty-first century.” (Professor Paula Hamilton, UTS Sydney

29 Okt

Piqd Podcast Interview: ‚Migration ist der Normalfall‘

Auf piqd durchforsten über 100 kluge Köpfe das Netz nach den besten Inhalten. Hier kommen sie zu Wort und versorgen euch mit einem „Best Of“ ihrer Themen der vergangenen Wochen – und der Zukunft – zum Nachhören!

Link zum Podcast

Flüchtlingsforschung ist eine multidisziplinäre Sache: Urban Studies, alle Sozialwissenschaften, Rechtswissenschaften, Mediziner, Psychologen uvm. ziehen an einem Strang und bringen ihre Expertise ein. Dabei geht es immer auch um Konkrete Hilfe und Verbesserung der Situation. Olaf findet:

„Eine Forschung, die sich nicht bemüht, Leiden zu vermindern, ist es eigentlich nicht wert, betrieben zu werden.“

Daher versuchen die Mitglieder des Netzwerks Flüchtlingsforschung auch, sich in öffentliche Debatten einzuschalten.

Die Forschung zeigt: Die Leute fliehen aufgrund der Situation an ihrem Wohnort, nicht, weil Einladungen von Bundeskanzlerinnen winken. Der Normalfall ist eigentlich, dass Leute versuchen, in ihrer Herkunftsregion einen sicheren Ort zu finden. Warum der Türkei-Deal in Europa nicht wirklich umsetzbar ist und warum wir nicht nach dem „australischen Modell“ verfahren können – diese und andere Fragen erörtert Olaf in der siebten Folge des piqd Podcasts.

Mein Piqd Profil


11 Aug

2. Forschungsbericht zu ehrenamtlicher Flüchtlingsarbeit (EFA 2) ist erschienen: Auswertung des ‚Sommers des Willkommens‘ 2015

Im Anschluss an den „Sommer des Willkommens“ des letzten Jahres, der durch ein nie zuvor gesehenes Engagement für Geflüchtete gekennzeichnet war, wurden im Rahmen der zweiten bundesweiten EFA-Studie 2.291 Personen online befragt, die sich ehrenamtlich in der Arbeit mit Geflüchteten engagieren.

Die Ergebnisse dieser zweiten nicht repräsentativen Stichprobe geben in Verbindung mit denen der ersten Studie EFA 1 (Erhebung 2014, Veröffentlichung 2015) wichtige und einzigartige Einblicke in die Dynamiken, Entwicklungen und strukturellen Veränderungen der Bewegung der ehrenamtlichen Flüchtlingsarbeit in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland.

Dr. Serhat Karakayali, BIM, HU Berlin
Dr. J. Olaf Kleist, IMIS, Universität Osnabrück

Hier finden Sie die Pressemitteilung: BIM-PM EFA2

Hier finden Sie die komplette Studie: BIM-Studie EFA2

19 Jun

New position: Project coordinator of BMBF Cooperation Project ‚Refuge – Research & Transfer‘ at IMIS, Osnabrück

I am delighted to announce that starting June 2016 I am the project coordinator of the new Cooperation Project ‚Refuge – Research & Transfer. Refugee Studies in Germany‘ funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research at IMIS, University of Osnabrück and BICC, Bonn. Over the next two years we will document the state-of-the-Art of Refugee Studies on central issues of refugee research and identify relevant gaps and future research questions regarding refugees and refugee policies.

19 Jan

Article ‚Remembering for Refugees in Australia‘ now free access as show-case of Journal of Intercultural Studies

I am very honoured that my article Remembering for Refugees in Australia: Political Memories and Concepts of Democracy in Refugee Advocacy Post-Tampa, published in Volume 34 Issue 6 (2013) of the Journal of Intercultural Studies (JIS) has been chosen as one of ten articles for a Virtual Special Issue to showcase research about refugees and asylum seekers published in JIS.

All ten articles are free to access here.

My article is available free of charge here.

11 Jan

‚Was kann Flüchtlingsforschung leisten?‘ Beitrag in Forschung&Lehre und auf Wissenschaftsmanagement Online

Was kann Flüchtlingsforschung leisten?
Perspektiven und Herausforderungen eines nicht nur aktuellen Forschungsfeldes

Angesichts anhaltender Debatten um Flüchtlinge und eine oft unklare Asylpolitik wird immer wieder gefragt, was die Wissenschaft zu diesen gesellschaftlichen Herausforderungen beitragen kann. Einen wichtigen Beitrag zur öffentlichen Diskussion könnte eine empirische und unabhängige Migrations- und Flüchtlingsforschung leisten. Doch gerade hier müsste dringend nachgebessert werden.

Abrufbar unter auf http://www.wissenschaftsmanagement-online.de
Zuerst erschienen in Forschung&Lehre 23, 01/1016.


07 Jan

‚Volunteers and Asylum Seekers‘ with S. Karakayali in Forced Migration Review

In the current issue of Forced Migration Review ‚Destination Europe‘ Serhat Karakayali and I discuss the role of volunteers in the European refugee crisis.

Volunteers and Asylum Seekers

People in communities where asylum seekers and refugees have appeared offered various forms of support to the new arrivals as states failed to provide even the essentials.

The article is available free of charge at