Solidarities Reconfigured: Central-Eastern European Migrants Working in Refugee Services in Austria

Principal investigator: Ildikó Zakariás

Period: 2020-2022

Grant: CEU Institute for Advanced Study, Botstiber Fellowship

Research questions and objectives: 

Political, economic, environmental and social crises induced by world politics and global capitalism have caused millions of people from the Global South to search for survival and a better life afar from their homes, and among other places, also in Western Europe. A great variety of institutions, organisations and projects were created in destination countries,  intended to help refugees and asylum seekers obtain education and employment.

My research aims to explore how such encounters of various migrant groups shape ideologies of solidarity and rejection. How do intra-EU migrants,  themselves struggling to solidify their positions in Western European labour markets, become hosts of other migrants, arriving from the Middle East; and how this affects ideologies of solidarity and rejection. How do ideas on sameness and difference, on responsibility and security, on inclusion and exclusion become recreated or altered, when both ‘hosts’ and those arriving have experience, biographies and identities related to migration?

Research history: 

In a previous research conducted with Margit Feischmidt in collaboration with the BIM Institute at Humbold University in Berlin, we looked at processes of differential inclusion of immigrants and refugees as played out by Hungarian employees and volunteers (teachers and social workers) working in the institutions responsible for the accommodation of refugees in Germany.

Research methods:

The research takes the case of Austria, and will be based on interviews with several groups: Central and Eastern European immigrants teaching or doing social work in Austrian refugee services institutions, their refugee students and clients, employers and leaders of these institutions as well as ‘local’ employees are being interviewed.


Zakariás, Ildikó, Feischmidt, Margit: ‘We Are That In-Between Nation’: Discourses of Deservingness of Hungarian Migrants Working in Institutions of Refugee Accommodation in Germany, Sociology (2021) 55(2) 400-420, DOI: 10.1177/0038038520941690

Feischmidt, Margit ; Zakariás, Ildikó: Szolidaritás és társadalmi mobilitás.: Magyar bevándorlók jótékonysága és fizetett munkája a német bevándorlási rendszerben. In: Kovách, Imre (szerk.) Mobilitás és integráció a magyar társadalomban. Budapest, Magyarország : Argumentum Kiadó, Társadalomtudományi Kutatóközpont (2020) 376 p. pp. 325-352. , 26 p.

Feischmidt, Margit, Zakariás, Ildikó: How Migration Experience Affects the Acceptance and Active Support of Refugees? Philanthropy and Paid Work of Hungarian Migrants in the German Immigrant Service, JOURNAL OF IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE STUDIES 18 : 4 pp. 481-497. , 17 p. (2020)

Feischmidt, Margit ; Zakariás, Ildikó: Médiahatások és véleményformálás a menekültekkel szolidáris németországi magyarok körében. MÉDIAKUTATÓ: MÉDIAELMÉLETI FOLYÓIRAT 21 : 1 pp. 37-54. , 18 p. (2020)