• Nicoline Kjemtrup Nielsen
  • Mette Melchjorsen
4. semester, Global Refugee Studies, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
The circumstances for refugees in Denmark is being made harder and harder based on a political
attempt to limit the number of refugees entering the country, as well as making them leave again as
fast as possible. Nevertheless, there are more refugees than ever in Denmark who are living amongst
the Danes in the welfare society. Although the political line is strict, or maybe because of it, civil society
has taken upon it to welcome the refugees in Denmark, helping them integrating and finding a place in
the Danish society. The Venligboer movement is one such civil society initiative, which has taken upon
it to welcome refugees. It is mainly a Facebook phenomenon, but for three months in the summer of
2015 it also had a physical location in Copenhagen called Cafe Venligbo. This was a small, temporary,
outdoor park cafe driven solely by volunteers of Danish and refugee background. Its goal was to make
Danes and refugees meet through kindness and cheap coffee.
This thesis is an investigation of how the meeting between Danes and refugees unfolded, what effects
it had on the individuals involved and how these effects might have spread to the broader Danish
society. It is based on a month long fieldwork at Cafe Venligbo as well as observations and examples
from the several Venligboer Facebook groups.
It will shed light on:
 How the meeting between Dane and refugee is affected by the two parties being precategorized
as such,
 What it means that a specific space has been created for this meeting to take place, and
 Whether some of the outcomes of the meeting can be taken out of Cafe Venligbo and what that
means for Danish society.
Throughout the thesis Erving Goffman’s theories on impression management will be used to analyze
the empirical data. Goffman operates with everyday interactions between people, taking place in
small-scale settings and is therefore appropriate to shed light on what happens at the cafe and on
Facebook. Before looking at these interactions, we will define the refugee and Dane as understood
from a Danish perspective. There will be put emphasis on how the role of being Dane or refugee
influences the actions of both parties, at the cafe and in the Facebook community respectively. The
findings will show that their roles can at times be actively used and at other times be dictating to their
actions. Furthermore, it will be discussed what is means to be a Venligboer and how this role affects
the Danishness and the “refugeeness” of the people involved. Lastly, there will be a discussion about
whether or not the outcomes of the Venligbo initiative can be used in a broader perspective of the
Danish society.
Udgivelsesdato17 dec. 2015
Antal sider88
ID: 224117747