Inequality in interaction: Equalising the helper-recipient relationship in the refugee solidarity movement

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In this paper, we supplement existing scholarship on the interactional process within volunteering with one that focuses on how inequality between volunteer and recipient of help is handled and (re)produced through interactions within voluntary groups. We focus on how empowerment projects with different interactional styles produce different forms of (in)equality on an interactional level despite dealing with very similar structural inequalities. We define interactional inequality as taking place along four dimensions: role distribution, framing rights, competencies, and sacrifice. Drawing on two different empowerment projects in the refugee solidarity movement in Denmark, we show how these dimensions of inequalities play out in the interaction between volunteers and refugees. We identify two strategies for overcoming the initial inequality between refugee and volunteer, one based on mutuality and another based on collectivity. Lastly, we show how these strategies produce interactional inequalities of their own.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Pages (from-to)59–71
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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