Refugee Solidarity: Between National Shame and Global Outrage

Chicago University Press
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Theorizing Emotions: Sociological Explorations and Applications, 2009, 1, pp. 269 - 291
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Action by national citizens to assist humanitarian migrants has become a key issue in many high-income countries. Refugee solidarity of this sort is a realm of mobilization where cross-cultural and transnational imperatives are keenly felt-it is the place where national sentiment encounters global injustice, where worldwide human suffering is personalized and asserted in the face of national exclusion. Solidarity with refugees may be seen as the embodiment of reaching across global divides, as the crucible of transnational solidarity, where an inter-subjective impulse forces a move to a shared humanity. A key issue for such movements is how they relate with the national-level affiliations. In addressing refugee rights, movements have found themselves at a crossroads between humanitarian norms and national identity, between global passion and national sentiment, between borderless cosmopolitanism and reconstituted nationalism. Movements enacting refugee solidarity thus directly engage with what is perhaps the key issue facing transnational social movements-how to bridge levels of emotion and action, and how to embed cosmopolitanism.
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