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Forthcoming publication: participation of refugees?

Abstract “Non-Formal Spaces of Socio-Cultural Accompaniment: Responding to Young Unaccompanied Refugees: Reflections from the Partispace Project”

The so called “refugee crisis” hit Europe and the PARTISpace-countries became actors in the direct confrontation with (civil) wars, armed conflicts and poverty on a global dimension. The German (Frankfurt), Swedish (Gothenburg) and English (Manchester) teams decided to write an article about the ongoing discourse and its deposit in actual participatory activities on, with and for refugees – especially unaccompanied minor refugees. The following outlook comes from a perspective of the Frankfurt team and focuses on the incidents for, with and against refugees, but also frames the impact on the debate in Germany more specifically in Frankfurt.

The ongoing global financial crisis 2007 has been followed up by an increase of migrants’ arrivals via the so-called “Balkan route” in September 2015 with people greeting refugees descending from trains at Munich main station with applause and first hand support. This spontaneous phenomenon has been called “the second German summer fairy tale” – inspired by the world championship in men’s football during the summer of 2006 labelled as the “German summer fairy tale”. In the coping-process of this situation new relevant actors for, with and also against refugees appeared: on the one hand citizen initiatives with fundraising campaigns for clothing, already existing left-wing-groups with demonstrations and direct support like Web 2.0-mobilising group “Welcome Frankfurt”, established civil society organisations with information and consultation on legal issues like “Pro Asyl”, self-organised groups like the political group “Project Shelter”, which gives but also demands shelter for all refugees and government-funded network “Frankfurt hilft” (Frankfurt helps) which organises voluntary commitment. And on the other hand spontaneous attacks by individual perpetrators and small groups, right-wing-movements with massive impact on the public perception like “PEGIDA”[1] and the rise of the new right-conservative-party “Alternative für Deutschland” (Alternative for Germany). The politicalisation of the public is an ongoing process about the question of democracy, citizenship, resources and society.

To pick an example on support for refugees but also professionalisation of structures during the coping-process: When the trains from Hungary on the 5th September 2015 reached the main train station and applauded, helped and gave donations – mostly organised by a non-formal group “Welcome Frankfurt” organised via social media. Just six days later the supporter started getting tired by their around-the-clock-work and asked for support – the „ecstasy of Saturday evaporated“[2] and a big newspaper titled „State of emergency on the main train station“[3]. At the beginning of October 2015 sustainable structures started to get implemented and replaced the non-formal by more or less formal support[4] by the end of the week. This happened with significant difficulty but illustrates a typical development of “German coping” somewhere between hysteria, excessive control, powerlessness and inventiveness. The speed of changing newspaper headlines between state of emergency, professionalisation, distress, solution, hostility and support has to be seen critically. It, and this is the thesis of the Frankfurt-Team, shows a country in a true crisis – the crisis of inner administration of resources rather than a crisis of refugees.

The impact of the migration-movement is one research topic of the PARTISpace-project, especially the different projects and activities involved in this discourses and phenomenon. The raised question about the European idea, the concept of Europe under stress, the rising nationalism but also support and re-thinking of the idea of citizenship and the “good life” will be kept as important topics in our research.

(Jessica Lütgens, Yağmur Mengilli, Axel Pohl)

[1]    (Abbreviation for: “Patriotic Europeans against the islamisation of the occident”)

[2]    FNP: 11.9.2015.

[3]    FR: 20.9.2015

[4]     FR: 5.10.2015


Frankfurter Neue Presse: “Hilfe am Hauptbahnhof Frankfurts Flüchtlingsaktivisten beklagen mangelnde Unterstützung”

In:;art675,1582938 (11.9.2015)

Frankfurter Rundschau: “Flüchtlinge in Frankfurt Ausnahmezustand am Bahnhof”

In:,24933504,31857462.html (20.9.2015)

Frankfurter Rundschau: “Zuwanderung in Rhein-Main – Flüchtlinge am Hauptbahnhof – Profis übernehmen Soforthilfe”

In:,24933504,32088808.html (5.10.2015)