Hosting “Outsiders” – Permutations of the European identity – a case study from a small Sardinian village hosting a refugee centre (HOPE)

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Principal Investigator: prof. dr hab. Izabela Wagner-Saffray

Project duration: January 2018 – January 2021


The aim of the project is to provide knowledge on one of the most pressing issues in the EU, the influx of refugees of an unprecedented size. The media, politicians, associations, parties and various communities of all member countries consider strategies, construct projects and propose solutions to what has already been called the “migrant problem”. The anti-admission campaign seems to be gaining momentum in parallel with the spread of political steps to curb the influx of refugees and strengthen EU police border controls. A coherent long-term project to address the refugee issue has not yet been developed. The so-called “migrants” are grouped (under varying conditions and limited freedom of action) in overcrowded refugee centres that operate in crisis mode with no long-term plans.

Since this is a new phenomenon (on such a mass scale), and scientific research – especially field qualitative studies – requires a lot of time, we have only rudimentary knowledge gained mainly by journalists reporting on the traumatic experiences of escape and everyday life in the refugee camp. So far, no scientific work has been published on the relationship between refugees and the local community (it is isolated in many places, but not everywhere). The issue of refugees in Europe on such a large scale is a new phenomenon, and therefore the interest in the subject is growing not only among European citizens. An increasing number of employees of various institutions (European, government, NGO, religious charity), social workers, doctors, military and police, complain about the lack of scientific information to support their difficult work.

The project is a sociological and anthropological response to the need for information. The results of the project will be generated on the basis of participative observation, i.e. field research. Such important social processes should be studied in vivo (in the process of being created – live). Qualitative research – participative observation with identity-oriented interviews – is certainly the best means of accessing first-hand information that will provide elements of answers to the most important questions that determine our European future: what kind of society are we? What changes – permutations – does reality subject us to? What solutions can we find for a peaceful and mutually enriching coexistence with those who have faced death many times and are looking for ways to continue living in Europe?

Project financed by the National Science Centre under the OPUS program.


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