Visions and practices of hospitality at the French-Spanish Mediterranean border.
(University of Girona)
Paper short abstract:
This paper deals with the immigrants welcoming practices at the French-Spanish border in northern Catalonia. Despite the permeability of the border and the cultural and territorial continuity, the different migration policies by the two States have a strong impact on local practices of hospitality.
Paper long abstract:
This paper is based on a comparative study on the immigrants welcoming practices in the "Département des Pyrénées-Orientales" and the "Comarca de l'Alt Empordà" at the Franco-Spanish border that divides the northern area of Catalonia. In spite of being a territory with a cultural and historical continuity, the presence of two States gives a distinctive character to the practices of hospitality organized by NGOs and local authorities. The research was carried out during 2017 and consisted on an ethnographic fieldwork on both sides of the border, participant observation in NGOs, and in-depth interviews with 26 people (volunteers and employees) in 18 organizations. The emphasis of the research was put in the critical reflections about the practices of hospitality by the local NGOs themselves. This research had three main objectives about the hospitality: 1. To know the main characteristics of the organizations dedicated to the reception of immigrants (employees and volunteers, access to services, internal organization, etc.); 2. To identify the demands they attend (legal support, assistance services, education, etc.); 3. To discover which models of welcome are activated (what is meant by the concepts of welcoming, integration, inclusion, etc.). The comparative study reveals that in a close territory inside EU, divided by a border but culturally and historically united, with people, immigrants or not, who constantly pass through it, the different national legislations and the more or less direct presence of the State on the regions determine in a decisive way the visions and practices of hospitality.
Hospitality and its reverse: migration and xenophobia in Southern Europe and beyond [MedNet Mediterraneanist Network]