Migrant Organisations in Humanitarian Action



This article applies the term ‘migrant humanitarianism’ for the hitherto neglected humanitarian activities of migrant organisations (MOs). First, it assesses the state-of-the-art on MOs in migration research and recognises common shortcomings within the existing literature. Second, it reviews humanitarian studies literature on aid actors and shows that local or non-Western forms of aid, as well as MOs have so far received only limited attention. Third, it presents the development studies on MOs’ role in their members’ country of origin, which focus mainly on remittances and the migration-development nexus. Fourth, it examines organisational studies which offer frameworks for analysing MOs in multiple countries and crises. Fifth, it discusses how neo-institutional and associational theory, as well as the transnational approach, can help fill gaps in research on MOs in humanitarian action. It then applies these theories to the Islamic Community Milli Görüs (IGMG) as a case study of MOs in humanitarian action. It shows that IGMG is a strong, autonomous actor, despite the fact that it does not fully adhere to the traditional humanitarian principles. Finally, it indicates themes for further research.


Migrant organisations Remittances Development Humanitarianism Crisis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Development StudiesUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed ConflictRuhr-University BochumBochumGermany

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