Emotions that Mobilise: The Emotional Basis of Pro-asylum Seeker Activism in Austria

  • Chiara Milan
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology book series (PSEPS)


During the long summer of migration in 2015, Austria became a recipient country for almost 90,000 migrants, most of whom got access to the country through the Western Balkans corridor. Against a backdrop of modest protest culture and largely hostile political attitudes towards asylum seekers, a part of civil society engaged in solidarity activism in support of the migrants. The chapter explores the emotional dimension of pro-refugee collective action, focusing in particular on the extent to which emotions informed the citizens’ decision to get involved in solidarity movements. Drawing on in-depth qualitative interviews with solidarity actors, the analysis discloses the relevance of moral and reactive emotions in explaining citizens’ engagement, revealing that feelings of outrage, compassion, and humanity account for the most relevant resources of solidarity actions. Moreover, it demonstrates that public and personal events that provoked moral shocks, coupled with personal experiences of displacement and uprooting, constituted important predictors of volunteerism.


Solidarity movements Emotions Protests Western Balkans corridor Austria 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chiara Milan
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Humanities and Social SciencesFirenzeItaly

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