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Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.103
Arabs in Austria navigating social exclusion/inclusion in times of right-wing anti-immigration discourses
The rise of right-wing anti-immigration discourses attempting to imagine common features that would mark immigrants as outsiders has gained awareness among academicians, liberal politicians and others alike. Yet, these discourses affect also migrant communities; The “need to belong” and to be identified as a member of a host country often connects to fears of exclusion and marginalisation. These fears mobilise sentiments of exclusionism and discrimination against newcomers within migrant communities, even if they share ethno-national or religious features. Why do people decide against following “identifiable social groups with shared features, creating a sense of continuity” (see panel abstract)? How do actors deal with discrimination experience from within their own communities? What dynamics do these (missing) solidarities create within communities? Based on fieldwork (2016 – 2019) among refugees from Syria and Iraq recently arrived to Vienna, this paper explores both the experience of being discriminated and avoided by other Arabs who had arrived before them, as well as their own decisions to distance themselves from other Arabs. This exploration will be embedded in the broader Austrian context of the new government’s right-wing shift, the increasing xenophobic and anti-refugee media discourses and the emerging values attached to different social groups within Austria. These findings challenge the link between resentments against “migrants” and “natives” by questioning not only the imagination of “nativeness” but also of “ethno-national belonging” and connects it to discussions of social inclusion/exclusion. It hence sheds a light on so far largely overseen right-wing and anti-immigration sentiments by (former) migrants themselves.