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Edited by K. Bruce Newbold and Kathi Wilson
Edited by Andrew Geddes, Marcia Vera Espinoza, Leila Hadj Abdou and Leiza Brumat
Edited by Katharyne Mitchell, Reece Jones and Jennifer L. Fluri
Katharyne Mitchell, Reece Jones and Jennifer L. Fluri
Moving Beyond the Crisis
Finally, the challenges and opportunities of letting refugees and other social groups arrive are discussed, first by presenting the empirical case of Germany during 2015, when almost 1 million unregistered refugees entered the country. Second, different models of social integration and deepening the understanding of arrival are exhibited. Third, arriving as a concept in a broader perspective, such as that developed by Hannah Arendt, also means remembering and rooting. The new transnational social question invites us to arrive at the current state of the global world by taking over global responsibility.
The chapter deals with the great opportunities for European societies not only to let refugees arrive, but to arrive as society at oneself in the sense of a more adequate self-perception and concept. Three levels are distinguished. First, arriving at oneself includes reflecting the experiences of persecution, displacement and flight during and after the Nazi regime. Second, the treatment of the ‘guest-worker’ generation in Germany and elsewhere during the second half of the twentieth century could be critically reconsidered in terms of arrival. Third, Germany and other countries get the historic opportunity to arrive in Europe in a more substantial and sustainable way. Although the societal and political development after 2015 may invite more sceptical or pessimistic analysis and prognosis, the ‘refugee crisis’ contains a great opportunity to refine the project of a European society in a globalized world.
The chapter reconstructs the events of autumn 2015 and argues that these can be understood as a complex network of rational decisions, spontaneous acts of desperation, courageous actions and tactical behaviour by individual and collective actors: refugees, their non-profit or for-profit assistants, state bodies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and politicians on the local, national and European levels. Some sociological rules such as the ‘unanticipated consequences of purposive social action’ and the Thomas theorem, according to which ‘if men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences’, help to explain these processes.