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‘Wir schaffen das’: Hope and Hospitality Beyond the Humanitarian Border

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-759
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Sociology
Issue number3
Early online date25 Feb 2021
Accepted/In press6 Jan 2021
E-pub ahead of print25 Feb 2021
PublishedSep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: I want to thank Clare Hemmings, Kristina Kolbe, Michelle Pfeifer, Howard Rechavia-Taylor and Miriam Ticktin for their generous feedback on earlier versions of this paper. Thank you also to the editors of this special section, Fataneh Farahani and Yasmin Gunaratnam, for inviting me to be part of this important conversation and their guidance and support throughout. The author received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s) 2021. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • AAM – Wir Schaffen Das

    AAM_Wir_Schaffen_Das_.docx, 240 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document

    Uploaded date:28 Jan 2021

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

King's Authors


This article examines how hope for a different culture of hospitality has been articulated during the long summer of migration of 2015 in Germany by juxtaposing Angela Merkel’s ‘Wir schaffen das’ speeches with the cross-border migrant March of Hope. The article suggests that while Merkel’s rhetoric opens the horizon to a more hospitable Europe, her policies of humanitarian securitisation ultimately redistribute hope away from migrants and towards a German nation imagined to be in need of protection from them. Subsequently, the article turns to the March of Hope to see how the gesture of hospitality embedded in Merkel’s rhetoric was reinterpreted and resisted. It shows that cross-border marches reveal affective infrastructures of care and hospitality that extend beyond the humanitarian border enacted by the state. These infrastructures provide the space for intimate negotiations of citizenship in which the relationality of social life is not framed through the racialised emergency logics of biopolitical control.

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