Civil society, social work and solidarity

NGOs; grassroots solidarity; volunteering; social movements; transnational social work; advocacy and interest groups;…

Humanitarianism under protest. The politics of grassroots solidarity with illegalized migrants.

Description: Across Europe, numerous grassroots groups have emerged in solidarity with migrants that are illegalised by state policies. Some of these groups combine humanitarian support (e.g. material aid) with an explicit desire to effectuate broader social and political change (e.g. by mobilizing citizens into protests). Through ethnographic fieldwork in grassroots groups that are active in Brussels, Flanders, Dunkirk and across Europe, this project examines what distinguishes these groups from both professional humanitarian NGOs and radical social movements, which dilemmas they are faced with, and how they deal with these.
Promoter(s): Robin Vandevoordt
Researcher(s): Robin Vandevoordt
Faculty / Faculties: Faculty of Political and Social Sciences
Period of time: 2019 - 2022

Performing kinship with illegalised migrants. Comparing hospitality practices in Brussels and Rome

Description: While the so-called European migration crisis has been echoed with increasingly hostile EU border policies and anti-migrant rhetoric, it has also prompted many citizens' solidarity initiatives towards migrants across the continent. In this context, hosting migrants at home emerged as a new puzzling and exciting phenomenon. Drawing on ethnographic research methods, this project aims to be one of the first to conduct a systematic analysis of hospitality practices - providing shelter at one's home - and the strong, affective, family-like relations (fictive kinship practices) emerging between migrants illegalised by the State and their urban resident-hosts in Brussels and Rome.
Promoter(s): Robin Vandevoordt , Lesley Hustinx
Researcher(s): Julija Kekstaite
Faculty / Faculties: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences , Faculty of Political and Social Sciences
Period of time: 2021 - 2025

Reclaiming the future? Critical perspectives on social work and policies on undocumented migrants

Description: The structural exclusion of illegalised migrants from Belgian society, their limited rights and restricted access to social services render it difficult for social workers and volunteers to provide more than just material support, situated in the present. This research project aims to gain a deeper understanding of structural social support practices and specific approaches to socio-legal and psycho-social support through ethnographic research methods. Therefore, the project focuses on local and municipal initiatives that link conditional welfare services, namely shelter, to intensive social counselling towards certain future perspectives for illegalised migrants. At the same time, the research endeavours to encompass how social workers, volunteers and illegalised migrants themselves construct informal forms of social support.
Promoter(s): Robin Vandevoordt , Ine Lietaert , Ellen Desmet
Researcher(s): Soline Ballet
Faculty / Faculties: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences , Faculty of Law and Criminology
Period of time: 2021 - 2025