2019-06-12Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/21100
The anti-racist potential of care - political dimensions of women’s engagement in voluntary refugee support work in Germany
Interdisziplinäre Zentren gemäß AS-Beschluss vom 17.02.2004
This article explores the role of gender in volunteering with refugees in Germany and how female volunteers, who outnumber male volunteers considerably, understand their involvement differently from men. Drawing upon quantitative data from two studies with volunteers in refugee work in Germany from 2015 and 2016, I discuss the motivations of female volunteers to engage in refugee support work, the meaning they give to their experience of working with refugees and the values they wish to demonstrate through their voluntary work. The article centrally maintains that refugee support work can be classed as a form of care work and is informed by an ethics and values of care. However, other results unveil that women interpret their care work as an expression of their political attitudes, specifically about anti-racism and anti-right-wing activism, as well, and thereby have recourse to a supposedly male political justification for engaging in volunteering. Thus, this article argues that these two forms of motivation for volunteering, care and politics, do not need to be mutually exclusive. Crucially, voluntary refugee support work represents a unique opportunity for women’s political activism for anti-racism and cultural openness.
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This article was supported by the Open Access Publication Fund of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.