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Cities as sites of refuge and resistance

Publication Illustration
Mayer, Margit.
European Urban and Regional Studies
Year of Publication

The article identifies some of the patterns and dynamics that have emerged in the uneven landscape and shifting constellations of local immigration regimes in the wake of the 2015 ‘summer of welcome’. Using the German case, it explores key players and institutions within this urban policy arena, and how their collaborative/competitive interactions in addressing the challenges of (receiving) the many newcomers have been shaped by supra-local as well as contingent and political factors.

Firstly, it looks at the role and relative autonomy that municipalities exert in designing (proactive) refugee and integration policies. Out of the broad spectrum of civil society organisations that engage in this field, the paper then focuses on the new civic engagement often referred to as volunteer welcome initiatives, and on another civil society actor less frequently discussed in this context: the protest movement organised by refugees themselves.

The evolving practices of, and interrelations among, these three sets of actors illustrate the trajectory of the transforming relations within the city as a networked and contested space of immigration policy.