The so-called refugee crisis in Europe has evoked various reactions of the European societies. It has polarised social groups and political leaders. These responses as well as the anthropologists' involvement in the "crisis" will be discussed in this WCAA sponsored panel.
The so-called refugee crisis in Europe has evoked various reactions of the European societies. It has polarised social groups and political leaders. On the one hand, some groups and individuals expressed radically negative attitudes towards the incoming refugees from the Middle East, unprecedented in modern Europe. Hate speech motivated by ethnic, racial, and above all religious prejudices has become common and tolerated. Especially Muslims and groups associated with this religion have been targeted by the self-nominated defenders of "European culture" and "Europeans' security". Cultural fundamentalism has led to the radicalisation of the political stances. On the other hand, certain social groups and political elites have expressed their will to welcome and help refugees. Their rationale has been phrased in various ways: as humanitarian, philosophical, legal and pragmatic. Tolerance, limits of tolerance and intolerance, have again become hotly disputed issues. We would like to have descriptions and interpretations of these phenomena based on the ethnographic accounts as well as on discourse analyses. Historically and anthropologically informed accounts will shed light on the national, regional, and class differences in attitudes towards immigrants. Anthropologists' engagement in shaping structures of feelings of the European societies and in reforming the immigration policies shall also be discussed.