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dc.contributor.authorMogstad, Heidi
dc.date.accessioned2022-03-03T13:59:13Z
dc.date.available2022-03-03T13:59:13Z
dc.date.submitted2021-09-30
dc.identifier.urihttps://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/334637
dc.description.abstractFollowing the so-called refugee crisis unfolding on the Greek islands in 2015, a multitude of citizen-led agencies emerged to mitigate or contest the EU’s policies of securitisation and containment. This dissertation explores the trajectory of one of these initiatives: a Norwegian humanitarian volunteer organisation Dråpen i Havet (A Drop in the Ocean, DiH). Established by a mother-of-five with no prior experience in humanitarian or social work, DiH aspires to “make it easy” for ordinary people to help refugees in Greece, but has undergone a process of partial professionalisation, leading to larger responsibilities inside and outside Greek refugee camps. The organisation also tries to scale up their acts of care and hospitality to the Norwegian state and to influence co-nationals who do not share their humanitarian sensibilities. The dissertation is based on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Greece and Norway. Chapter 1 discusses the emergence of a new humanitarian geography and the rise of “Fortress Europe.” Chapter 2 and 3 trace DiH’s trajectory from spontaneous volunteering to “NGOization” and explore the organisation’s shifting and contested efforts to “fill humanitarian gaps” on Europe’s southern border. Chapters 4 and 5 examine DiH’s widespread appeal amongst Norwegian citizens and the organisation’s vision of volunteering as a transformative experience. These chapters also explore volunteers’ pathways to help refugees in Greece and ambivalent experiences of returning home and negotiating different worlds and relationships. Chapter 6 analyses DiH’s political turn and efforts to witness and mobilise for more inclusive asylum policies and positive public orientations towards refugees in Norway. The conclusion discusses the redemptive potential of volunteering. Taken together, the chapters challenge enduring representations of humanitarian actors and volunteers as “rootless cosmopolitans” or “transnationals” motivated by either selfish or altruistic concerns to help distant strangers. Conversely, the dissertation shows that DiH staff and volunteers felt deeply ashamed by Norwegian affluence and their government’s restrictive asylum policies and increasingly worried over the moral health and future of the Norwegian state and society. The dissertation argues that DiH staff and volunteers can be understood as “cosmopolitan nationalists,” called to help as indignant and ashamed Norwegian citizens and mobilising against what they perceive as an illicit, inward-looking nationalism. Drawing on feminist and anthropological work on the politics of affect, the dissertation analyses shame (skam) as both culturally and politically contingent, expressed on personal and collective levels and simultaneously on behalf of and against the nation. Contrary to popular and scholarly assumptions, DiH staff and volunteers experience shame as largely productive and self-affirming. However, the dissertation argues that its political force is hampered by its reliance upon (and reproduction of) a sanitised and romanticising national narrative. While primarily a contribution to the study of humanitarianism, nationalism and border politics, the dissertation addresses anthropological and philosophical debates on ethics, affect, cosmopolitanism and liberalism. It further provides windows into changing and increasingly fragmented and hostile humanitarian and political landscapes on the fringes of Europe. Analysing volunteers’ post-utopian and redemptive aspirations, the dissertation identifies “sticky attachments” to national and humanitarian frames and imaginaries yet also some cracks and openings.
dc.description.sponsorshipAker scholarship
dc.rightsAll Rights Reserved
dc.rights.urihttps://www.rioxx.net/licenses/all-rights-reserved/
dc.subjecthumanitarianism
dc.subjectshame
dc.subjectadvocacy
dc.subjectethics
dc.subjectaffect
dc.subjectcosmopolitanism
dc.subjectGreece
dc.subjectNorway
dc.titleHumanitarian shame and cosmopolitan nationalism: Norwegian volunteers at home and abroad
dc.typeThesis
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoral
dc.type.qualificationnameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.publisher.institutionUniversity of Cambridge
dc.date.updated2022-02-24T17:57:06Z
dc.identifier.doi10.17863/CAM.82055
rioxxterms.licenseref.urihttps://www.rioxx.net/licenses/all-rights-reserved/
rioxxterms.typeThesis
cam.supervisorEnglund, Harri
cam.depositDate2022-02-24
pubs.licence-identifierapollo-deposit-licence-2-1
pubs.licence-display-nameApollo Repository Deposit Licence Agreement


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