Between Hospitality and Inhospitality: The Politics of Migrants Protection in Germany

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Virginia Tech Publishing


In Europe, the public discourse on migration opposes narratives of endangered national identities and sovereignties to utilitarian arguments that migrants can restore fiscal balance and demographic dynamism. The notion of hospitality as the foundational basis for granting protection is, however, absent from the debate. In Germany, the initial spirit of organized popular solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers that came in during summer and fall 2015 were soon disillusioned by the unpreparedness of the bureaucracy in processing all asylum claims. As a result of the massive streams of migrants in the recent years, resentment towards migrants, while still marginal in Germany, has become more outspoken. The state’s duty to provide protection to refugees and asylum seekers has become fraught with political considerations that serve bureaucratic interests. Consequently, the provision of protection paradoxically developed into inhospitable practices that disenfranchises migrants and hinders the provision of protection to incoming displaced populations. This article proposes a re-discovery of hospitality by integrating the analyses of Derrida and Hallie. It argues for a politicization of hospitality that can achieved by enabling migrants themselves to enter discourse and fill it with their subjective outlook on their own mobility. Hospitality, as a discursive act that relates the host and the guest on a basis of equality, demarginalizes migrants in the reception country as they are invited into the public space to express their own voices on the migratory processes that they experienced.




Safouane, H., 2017. Between Hospitality and Inhospitality: The Politics of Migrants Protection in Germany. Spectra, 6(1). DOI: