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Accepted Paper:

"Together we can": local institutions' struggle to deal with the refugee influx  
Annett Fleischer (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines how local institutions such as city council, social worker associations and volunteer organisations respond to the influx of refugees and asylum seekers in Germany.

Paper long abstract:

According to German's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), more than one million asylum seekers and refugees reached Germany in the year 2015, which is the largest influx of newcomers in all European countries. A recently passed government policy requires that newcomers are distributed evenly across communities. Thus, local governments and municipalities struggle to find or set up space to shelter migrants, provide them with basic needs and create a structure to support them. By participating in a number of workshops, town-hall meetings and dialog boards as well as by interviewing state officials, city councillors, social workers, NGO members, volunteers and others, I analyse how various institutions react to the - in many cases - sudden and increasing number of asylum seekers and refugees in their communities. In doing so, this paper examines the often heated debates as communities struggle to keep up with the influx. I will be presenting first preliminary results from an ongoing ethnographic research project illustrating the view of different actors involved including asylum seekers themselves and local institutions. In this regard, the meaning of terms such as "refugee" and "integration" and how they are used by the various actors will be explored from different perspectives.

Panel P025
"Refugee crisis", European reactions and the role of anthropology [WCAA Panel]
  Session 1