Mobile solidarities: The City of Sanctuary movement and the Strangers into Citizens campaign

Squire, Vicki (2009). Mobile solidarities: The City of Sanctuary movement and the Strangers into Citizens campaign. Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG), The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.


Political and social concerns regarding the negative impact of migrants and asylum seekers on local communities have become widespread within the UK over recent years. What is often overlooked in such debates, however, is the growing significance of movements such as those associated with the City of Sanctuary network and the Strangers into Citizens campaign, which both grow out of and also contribute to the construction of solidaristic relations between migrants, refugees and more established local residents. This report, which summarises the findings of a project into such movements led by Dr Vicki Squire at the Open University, suggests that migrants and refugees do not necessarily encounter hostility from ‘host’ communities, nor do they necessarily form discrete groups that need to be integrated within the wider community. Rather, migrants and refugees often engage with more established residents within localised city spaces in terms that render problematic distinctions between citizens/noncitizens; between cultural, ethnic or national groups; and between different migrant categories. The mobile solidarities associated with such movements thus challenge assumptions regarding the hostility of ‘host’ communities, as well as assumptions regarding the ‘natural’ division of community groups – assumptions on which contemporary integration and cohesion policies are founded.

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