Accepted paper:

Disappointed expectations and broken promises: Digesting difference in light of the initial asylum seekers accommodation in Frankfurt in 2015

Authors:

Maria Schiller (Max Planck Institute)

Paper short abstract:

The presentation focuses on the ways in which local officials and residents mobilize earlier experiences and conceptions of immigration-based diversity when assessing the potential future incorporation of asylum seekers in local neighborhoods. It draws on ethnographic research in two German cities.

Paper long abstract:

When Germany received large numbers of asylum seekers in 2015, politics and administrations needed to sideline many of their usual rules and procedures to make a quick initial reception possible. To date, it is unclear how this 'crisis mode' of initial asylum seeker reception informs the ways in which local officials and residents experienced the presence of asylum seekers and how they mobilized earlier experiences with immigration when contemplating their future social incorporation. Do they consider that mutual belonging of recent asylum seekers and established residents is possible? Large-scale studies show that a majority of Germans today is open to having refugees as their neighbors and do not associate problems with refugees in their neighborhood (Bertelsmann 2017). Yet, few small-scale studies have captured the concrete experiences and conceptions of residents and officials. Drawing on ethnographic data, my analysis highlights the disappointed expectations and broken promises the installation of asylum seeker reception centers represented for local residents and urban planners in a neighborhood in Frankfurt. While local officials as well as local populations otherwise had a largely welcoming attitude to the recent asylum seekers, the sidelining of their concerns and of bureaucratic rules created tensions and thereby undermined the cultivation of mutual belonging.

panel P154
Uncertain solidarities: migration, social incorporation, and European welfare states