Demand and Deliver: Refugee Support Organisations in Austria

de Jong, Sara and Ataç, Ilker (2017). Demand and Deliver: Refugee Support Organisations in Austria. Social Inclusion, 5(3) pp. 28–37.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v5i3.1003

Abstract

This article analyses four emerging refugee support organisations in Austria, founded before the so-called refugee crisis in 2015. It argues that these organisations have managed to occupy a middle space between mainstream NGOs and social movements with structures of inclusive governance, a high degree of autonomy, personalised relationships with refugees, and radical critique combined with service delivery. Based on interviews with the founders of each organisation, we show that their previous NGO and social movement experience formed a springboard for the new initiatives. It not only allowed them to identify significant gaps in existing service provision, but also provided the space of confrontation with the asylum system inspiring a strong sense of outrage, which in turn developed into political critique. We argue that this critique combined with identifying the needs of asylum seekers and refugees has produced a new type of organisation, which both delivers services and articulates radical demands. Each organisation offers a space of encounter, which undoes the ‘organised disintegration’ of the asylum system.

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