Welcoming Refugees and the Virtue of Hospitality: An Analysis of Refugee Resettlement through Private Sponsorship in Small-Town Eastern Ontario

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Neelin, Julie




In the wake of the refugee crisis in Syria, national narratives of welcome propelled new trends of private sponsorship into rural communities across Canada. Through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program, sponsors are responsible for supporting the transition of refugee-newcomers into Canadian society. This study offers an analysis of private sponsorship from the perspectives and experiences of those that have mobilized to welcome refugees into small-towns in Eastern Ontario. Drawing on the concept of hospitality to analyze the dynamics of private sponsorship, I examine how everyday acts of welcome are informed by feelings of compassion, but also reinforce dynamics of power that perpetuate systems of control and dependency. Through an examination of the challenges experienced by refugee-newcomers, I highlight the major flaws of the program, calling for a critical evaluation of Canada's models of resettlement to reflect the authority of migrants to act as independent agents of their own mobility.






Carleton University

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