Fostering Pluralism through Solidarity Activism in Europe: Everyday Encounters with Newcomers

Edited by Feyzi Baban and Kim Rygiel, 2020.

This edited collection: Fostering Pluralism through Solidarity Activism in Europe: Everyday Encounters with Newcomers, brings together academics, artists and members of civil society organizations to engage in a discussion about the ideas of living with others, through concepts such as cosmopolitanism, solidarity, and conviviality, and the practices of doing so.  

In recent years, right wing and populist movements have emerged and strengthened across Europe and North America, rejecting the value of cultural, ethnic and religious plurality. Governments in Europe and North America are weakening their commitment to the international refugee regime, erecting new barriers to entry. Even as governments fail to accommodate growing pluralism, however, civil society initiatives have emerged with the aim of welcoming newcomers, such as migrants and refugees, and finding alternative ways of living together in diverse societies. Motivated by a desire to show solidarity, these initiatives demonstrate enormous creativity in fostering pluralism in an environment that has largely become hostile to the arrival of newcomers.

The contributions gathered here seek to explore such initiatives and the important work that they do in fostering ways of living together with others from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. In focusing conceptually and empirically on discussions and examples of civil society initiatives, this book interrogates why, how and under what circumstances are some communities more welcoming than others.

Welcoming Diversity: The Role of Local and Civil Society Initiatives in Integrating Newcomers 

by Feyzi Baban, Fuat Keyman, Hande Paker, and Kim Rygiel, 2018.

In a global context marked by growing international forced displacement and migration, societies are becoming increasingly more diverse. The question of how to live together with newcomers has become a policy issue of utmost concern. While populist governments in Europe and in the US are failing to offer citizens and newcomers alternative models for living together that encourage greater ethnic, cultural and religious plurality, in this report we highlight the contributions and lessons drawn from local and civil-society initiatives that have been successful in bringing hosts and newcomers together. By analysing initiatives in Riace, Italy, Gaziantep, Turkey, and Berlin, Germany, we highlight the importance of a three-pronged approached to integration that combines governmental leadership, solid integration policies, and civil-society and locally-based initiatives that allow for personal interchanges between newcomers and hosts.

Citizens Initiatives Fostering Pluralism Around Europe 

Radio Interview with Feyzi Baban. Open Radio, Istanbul, by Gurhan Ertug (in Turkish).

Podcast links:

First program (18.10.2017):

Second Program (2.11.2017):

Living with others: fostering radical cosmopolitanism through citizenship politics in Berlin

by Feyzi Baban and Kim Rygiel2017

A growing refugee and migration crisis has imploded on European shores, immobilizing E.U. countries and fuelling a rise in far-right parties. Against this backdrop, this paper investigates the question of how to foster pluralism and a cosmopolitan desire for living with others who are newcomers. By looking at Berlin, Germany, the paper investigates community-based, citizen-led initiatives that open communities to newcomers, such as refugees and migrants, and foster cultural pluralism in ways that transform understandings of who is a citizen and belongs to the community. The paper brings insights from critical citizenship studies, exploring how citizenship is constituted through everyday practices, into dialogue with radical cosmopolitanism, particularly through Derrida’s works on ‘unconditional hospitality’.

A Year after “The Cologne Attacks”: How Small Community Initiatives in Europe Are Countering Right-wing Populism

Posted on December 14, 2016

By Feyzi Baban and Kim Rygiel

The one-year anniversary of the “Cologne attacks” on some 1,200 women on New Year’s Eve is a difficult one for many Germans. Prior to the attacks, since the summer of 2015, Germany demonstrated remarkable leadership – unlike many other European countries – by providing refuge to a million people fleeing war in places like Syria, where nearly half the population fled their homes. Last year’s attacks, most of which took place in the Cologne train station and included sexual assault, rape and robbery, were a tipping and turning point for many Germans.

Snapshots from the margins: Transgressive cosmopolitanisms in Europe

Feyzi Baban, Kim Rygiel

First Published February 17, 2014 , European Journal of Social Theory  Volume  17, issue 4,  2014


Right-wing parties and governments in Europe have recently expressed greater hostility towards cultural pluralism, at times officially denunciating multiculturalism, and calling for the closure of borders and denial of rights to non-European nationals. Within this context, this article argues for rethinking Europe through radically transgressive and transnational understandings of cosmopolitanism as articulated by growing transnational populations within Europe such as immigrants, refugees, and irregular migrants. Transgressive forms of cosmopolitanism disrupt European notions of borders and identities in ways that challenge both liberal multiculturalism and assimilationist positions. This article explores the limits of traditional cosmopolitan thinking while offering a vision of cosmopolitanism based on everyday negotiations with cultural differences, explained using two illustrative examples or snapshots.

Other publications by principal investigators

Dr. Kim Rygiel

Books/Edited Volumes

rygiel book 1 - Research Outputs

• with Peter Nyers (eds.), Citizenship, Migrant Activism and the Politics of Movement, Routledge, 2012.

Citizenship, Migrant Activism and the Politics of Movement analyses recent shifts in governing global mobility from the perspective of the politics of citizenship. It investigates how restrictions on mobility are not only generating new forms of inequality and social exclusion, but also new forms of political activism and citizenship identities. In this context the book focuses the debate of migration, security, and mobility rights onto grassroots politics and social movements.

rygiel globalcitizenship - Research Outputs

• Globalizing Citizenship, University of British Columbia, 2010.

Globalizing Citizenship examines border and detention policies as part of a larger politics of citizenship. It argues that citizenship is becoming a globalizing regime to govern mobility and access to rights and resources. The new mobility regime is not only deepening boundaries based on race, class, and gender, it is causing Western nations to embrace a more technocratic, depoliticized understanding of citizenship.

rygiel gender - Research Outputs

• (Ed. with Krista Hunt) (En)Gendering the War on Terror: War Stories and Camouflaged Politics, Routledge, 2007.

Virtually absent from the literature of the war on terror is an examination of the central role that gender, race, class and sexuality play in it. Analysts continuously resist to acknowledge identity-related social issues as central elements within global politics. The book examines the official war stories being told to the international community about why and against whom the war on terror is being waged and how international actors are using the war as an opportunity to reinforce existing gendered, raced, classed and sexualized inter/national relations.

Rygiel,  (Routledge, 2012. Paperback edition released May 2014). 188 pages.


Ataç, I., Rygiel, K. and M. Stierl.  2016. “Introduction: the contentious politics of refugee and migrant protest and solidarity movements: remaking citizenship from the margins”, Citizenship Studies 20 (10): 1-18.

Rygiel, K2016. “Dying to Live: Migrant Deaths and Citizenship Politics along the European Border.” Citizenship Studies 20 (10): 1-16.

Rygiel, K with Ilker Ataç, Anna Köster-Eiserfunke and Helge Schwiertz, Governing through    Citizenship and Citizenship from Below. An Interview with Kim Rygiel, in: Movements. Journal für kritische Migrations- und Grenzregimeforschung 2015 1 (2).

Rygiel, K Mobile Citizens, Risky Subjects: Security Knowledge at the Border, in: S. Ilcan (ed.), Mobilities, Knowledge and Social Justice, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013, pp.         152-177.

Rygiel, K. Politicizing Camps: Forging Transgressive Citizenships in and through Transit, in: Citizenship Studies 16 (5-6), 2012, pp. 807-825.

Rygiel, K. “Governing mobility and rights to movement post 9/11: Managing irregular migration through detention.” Review of Constitutional Studies.16 (2): 211-241, 2012

Rygiel, K. Bordering Solidarities: Migrant Activism and the Politics of Movement and Camps at Calais, Citizenship Studies.15 (1): 1-19, 2011.

Rygiel, K Governing Borderzones of Mobility through E-Borders: The Politics of Embodied                Mobility, in: V. Squire (ed.), The Contested Politics of Mobility: Borderzones and Irregularity,                        Routledge, 2011, pp. 143-168.

Dr. Feyzi Baban  

Baban, F. “Cosmopolitanism from the Margins: Redefining the Idea of Europe through Postcoloniality” in Postcolonial Transitions in Europe. ed. by Sandra Ponzanesi and Gianmaria Colpani ( 2016)

Baban F., Ilcan, S. and Rygiel, K. “Syrian Refugees in Turkey: Pathways to Precarity, Differential Inclusion and Negotiated Citizenship Rights”, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, with Kim Rygiel and Suzan Ilcan, published online 8.06.2016.;

Baban, F. “Secular Spaces and Religious Representations: reading the Headscarf Debate in Turkey as Citizenship Politics”, Citizenship Studies,  January 10, 2015, 

Baban, F. “Cosmopolitan Europe: Border Crossings and Transnationalism in Europe” Global Society, February 2013;

Baban, F. “Cosmopolitanism Reinvented: Neoliberal Globalization And Thomas Friedman”, Age of Icons: The Cultural Political Economy of Neoliberal Capitalism, ed. by Gavin Fridell and Martijn Konings (, University of Toronto Press, 2012)

Baban, F. “Modernity and Its Contradictions”, ISA Compendium: International Development, ed. By Salvatore Babones, (Blackwell : 2010)

Baban, F. “Turkey and the Postnational Europe: Challenges For the Emerging Political Community”, with Fuat Keyman, European Journal of Social Theory, Winter 2008.

Baban, F. “Private Lives and Public Identities in the Formation of the Turkish Republic”, Remaking Turkey: Globalization, Alternative Modernities and Democracy, ed. by Fuat Keyman. August 2007 ( Oxford University Press ).

Baban, F. “From Gastarbeiter to “ Auslandische Mitburger” : Postnational Citizenship And In-Between Identities In Berlin”, Citizenship Studies, Vol.10, No.2, Winter 2006 .

Baban, F. “Cosmopolitanism, Modernity and Political Community”, Studies in Political Economy, No:77, Spring 2006.