The Importance of Civil Society Actors for (Syrian) Refugee Settlement in Comparative Perspective: Motivations, Structures, and Consequences

Researchers: Elke Winter, Monika Gonser, Georg Mildenberger, Verena Schmid, Kathia Serrano Velarde


Research Question

In light of the arrival of Syrian refugees, local structures in Germany and Canada are adapting to meet the challenge of integrating the newcomers. In both countries, civil society actors are becoming a more and more important. Taking stock of the changes,this project examines 1) the reasons that motivate private citizens to become engaged as volunteers, 2) the ways in which these motivations are channelled into specific social activities and how these changes the landscape of civic society structures, and 3) the impacts/consequences that these new forms of volunteering and civil engagement have upon the integration of refugee populations on both sides of the Atlantic.

Basic Design

For our project, we will compare the metropolitan regions of Heidelberg and Ottawa. This is planned in three steps. In the first phase of our project in which the two research teams in Heidelberg an Ottawa separately mapping the recent changes to civil society engagement in refugee integration. During the second phase, we will compare nationally-specific research findings and develop a (harmonized) theoretical framework and hypotheses for future research and analysis. In a third step, we will develop a comparative research design and release the findings.

Project Status

We are now in the first phase of our project.

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