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Planum Magazine | no. 40, vol. I/2020 | Front Cover

Welcomed Refugees, Unloved Neighbours
Local anti-asylum protest and NIMBYism in East-Germany

Frank Eckardt


Frank Eckardt

Welcomed Refugees, Unloved Neighbours?
Local anti-asylum protest and NIMBYism in East-Germany
 
 
Pubblicazione allegata a | This article is published in:
Planum. The Journal of Urbanism no. 40, vol. I/2020
www.planum.net | ISSN 1723-0993



In 2015 and 2016, the former East Germany has seen more anti-refugee manifestations than elsewhere. Public and academic discussions have focused on different potential explanations. Racism and right wing extremism have been identified as main factors for the fierce rejection of refugees in East Germany. Being categorized this way, many East Germans however felt stigmatized and arguments have been formulated to legitimize the anti-refugee sentiment. Most prominent, interviewees have defended themselves by claiming that they are not generally refusing refugees but only in their neighborhood. The main research question therefore is in how far these statements can be regarded as expressions of so-called NIMBY protests (Not In My Backyard) which are well known in urban studies. This paper presented research reconstructing in detail what precisely happened in those cities protesting the arrival of refugees. Based on four local case studies undertaken by qualitative research and including a larger survey, it will argue that many assumptions on the reasons for the anti-asylum protests cannot be explained sufficiently by pointing at the virulent racism and xenophobia only. Instead, the undertaken research points at a more profound change in society where the understanding of neighborhood as a space of integration for all citizens is at stake. In this sense, the refusal of refugees does not only point at the remaining significance of racism, but also shows that the anti-asylum attitude mimicries NIMBY protests while the meaning of the neighborhood is eroded.
 







Frank Eckardt
is an urban sociologist and professor at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany. His main research interests are questions of social inequality, cultural diversity and political participation.


 
Planum Magazine | no. 40, vol. I/2020 | Credits Planum Magazine | no. 40, vol. I/2020 | Abstract Planum Magazine | no. 40, vol. I/2020 | Introduction Planum Magazine | no. 40, vol. I/2020 | Back Cover