The term welcome culture refers to the recognition and appreciation of social and cultural diversity. It implies a positive, welcoming, inclusive, and appreciative attitude toward migrants, which manifests itself in cooperate, neighborly, and administrative everyday practices. Welcome culture is not only directed toward migrants and refugees who count as new arrivals in a country, but it also addresses migrants who have already been living in this country and perhaps even adopted new citizenship. The main objective of practices of welcome culture are to ensure attractive living conditions for every member of society, irrespective of their origin, as well as to establish integration and inclusion as central social duties (Huke 2022, 299).
Media coverage of the long summer of migration in 2015 mainly used the term welcome culture to refer to German solidarity with refugees (Gebauer 2023). When then chancellor Angela Merkel refused to close the country’s borders, allowing an unlimited number of refugees to seek asylum in Germany, an impressively large part of German civil society decided to volunteer in refugee help (Becker 2022, ch. 3; Fleischmann 2020). The humanitarian narrative of German welcome culture which emerged from these events marked an important discursive shift in German debates on migration: Before the European refugee ‘crisis,’ welcome culture had been mainly used as the official term to denote governmental measures of tackling the shortage of skilled workers in Germany, including the improvement of educational and employment opportunities for the population already resident in the country as well as the immigration management of skilled workers from abroad who should cover the need for employable people (Schäfer 2023, 329–331).
⇢ see also Attitudes, beliefs, and values, Conviviality, Diversity, Inclusion, Integration, Solidarity (with migrants)
References and further reading:
Becker, Uwe. 2022. Deutschland und seine Flüchtlinge: Das Wechselbad der Diskurse im langen Sommer der Flucht 2015. Bielefeld: transcript.
Fleischmann, Larissa. 2020. Contested Solidarity: Practices of Refugee Support between Humanitarian Help and Political Activism. Bielefeld: transcript.
Gebauer, Carolin. 2023. “German Welcome Culture Then and Now: How Crisis Narration Can Foster (Contested) Solidarity with Refugees.” University of Wuppertal. [Working paper of the OPPORTUNITIES project 101004945 – H2020.]
Huke, Nikolai. 2022. “Willkommenskultur.” In Begriffe der Gegenwart: Ein Kulturwissenschaftliches Glossar, edited by Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber and Manuel Liebig, 299–304. Wien and Cologne: Böhlau Verlag.
Schäfer, Philipp. 2023. 2023. “Willkommenskultur.” In Umkämpfte Begriffe der Migration: Ein Inventar, edited by Inken Bartels, Isabella Löhr, Christiane Reinecke, Philipp Schäfer, and Laura Stielike, 329–342. Bielefeld: transcript.
Work Package: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6