From Vulnerability to Trust: Personal Encounters and Bordering Processes in the British Refugees Welcome Movement


This article examines the complex and ambivalent nature of the encounters between British volunteers and refugees within the 2015 Refugees Welcome movement. The 72 interviews we conducted with volunteers active in different charities and informal networks reveal the significance of the logic of trust in these encounters. We show that although participants often base their engagement on claims that disrupt dominant narratives about border controls, they also tend to endorse and reproduce bordering processes based on the perceived trustworthiness of refugees and, sometimes, exclude some groups from their support. Taking insights from the literature on encounters and critical humanitarianism, our article highlights from a theoretical and empirical perspective how “ordinary participants” in the refugee support sector can subvert humanitarian borders, but also participate in the construction of new types of borders based on domopolitics. More generally, the article aims to highlight civil society’s voluntary participation in the governance of migration.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Policy
Additional Information: Copyright © The Authors, 2022. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY []. Funding: This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council. Project title: “Exploring the Frames of Altruistic Action,” 2017–2020. Grant number: ES/N015274/1.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Encounters,Humanitarian borders,Volunteering,“refugee crisis,” trust,Geography, Planning and Development,Anthropology
Publication ISSN: 2574-1314
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2024 17:27
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2022 10:13
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Related URLs: https://www.ber ... /arms050106.xml (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-06-01
Published Online Date: 2022-04-20
Accepted Date: 2022-04-01
Authors: Monforte, Pierre
Maestri, Gaja (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-7935-0358)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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