47 / 2018
Linda Becht, Laura Boucsein, Katharina Mayr

The Dynamics of Othering in Activism as Part of Germany’s Post-2015 “Willkommenskultur”

The article critically evaluates the involvement of activists in the country’s often praised Willkommenskultur (culture of welcome). Using humanitarianism as a starting point, it investigates the ways activists otherise refugees in spite or because of seemingly good intentions. The analysis of interviews conducted with activists in Northern Germany showed that Othering among activists takes different forms, depending on their form of involvement and individual characteristics, such as their (lack of a) personal flight history. Exclusionary Othering is predominantly used by activists who are not sensitised to power hierarchies, while other activists often employ inclusive Othering when attempting to connect on an equal level. KEY WORDS: Othering, Willkommenskultur, activism, humanitarianism, refugees