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Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij x Jaar 2019 x
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Het asielzoekerscentrum als buurthuis? Over vrijwilligerswerk in asielzoekerscentra in Amsterdam en Brussel

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden Asylum centres, Community centres, Refugees, Civic engagement, Interpretive policy analyses
Auteurs Rosaly Studulski en Nanke Verloo
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Citizens are being activated to organize activities in asylum centres in both the Netherlands and Belgium. That way, asylum centres are expected to become better integrated in the local context of a municipality or neighbourhood. This ideal of citizenship does not stand on its own. The policy object to integrate asylum centres in the local context has parallels with broader societal and academic discussions about citizen participation and active citizenship. The object, however, is now the asylum seeker. In this article we research how voluntary work in two asylum centres takes shape and how policy could support voluntary activities better. A comparative interpretive policy analysis of two asylum centres in Amsterdam and Brussel shows how voluntary work is stimulated by policy, how these policies are implemented locally, and how they are experienced in daily practices of volunteers and professionals. The cases reveal stark differences, but exactly those contrasts lead to important lessons. We show that because of this policy, the asylum centre is often functioning as a community centre, that integration can be strengthened by volunteers, but we are also critical when voluntary activities are driven by an ideal picture of the ‘good asylum seeker’. There is a risk that the societal responsibility for integrating and engaging asylum seekers in the local context is pushed on the shoulders of unpaid volunteers and that activities are exclusively for one group. That is why we conclude that professional support and financial resources are crucial to implement the policy ideal of active citizenship in asylum centers.


Rosaly Studulski
Rosaly Studulski, MSc. is onlangs afgestudeerd in de Research Master Urban Studies aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam en sindsdien werkzaam bij het Projectmanagementbureau van de Gemeente Amsterdam.

Nanke Verloo
Dr. Nanke Verloo is werkzaam als Universitair Docent in Stedelijke Planologie aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam en redacteur bij Beleid en Maatschappij.
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