• Frida Stepputat
4. term, Global Refugee Studies, Master (Master Programme)
Over recent decades, Chile has experienced increased migration, including the new phenomenon of Haitian migration. Haitian migrants can encounter many obstacles that may lead to a vulnerable position in the Chilean society. This is partly caused by a legal framework for migration that is outdated and inherently selective, and the presence of racial nationalism, which marks immigration as a threat to the Chilean national identity.
Through a case study, this thesis seeks to identify and examine the organization Fundación Fré as an actor in the space between Haitian migrants and the Chilean state. Through its work, Frè aims to help, accompany, and promote integration of Haitian migrants in Chile, and is thereby an example of how other actors can influence the migrant-state relations.
I conducted fieldwork with Frè, working as a volunteer, where I collected data through participant observation. Using perspectives from literature on non-profit organizations and social movements to interpret the empirical material, the analysis of this thesis seeks to understand Frè as an organization, including its objectives, how it interacts with the Chilean state, and how internal dynamics can affect the workings of the organization.
The organization performs charitable acts and activities to promote integration of Haitian migrants. The choice of beneficiaries as well as participation in public debate serve as a critique of the Chilean state and certain structures in society. The organization also acts as a protector and mediator for the migrants by facilitating contact to the state and enabling access to rights. The organization thereby functions as a substitute for the state by providing services that are otherwise perceived to be within the responsibility of the state. However, through this, the organization risks becoming an extension of the state, by reproducing the state agenda and allowing the state to continue being absent. Internal disagreements and the focus on fulfilment of personal motivations can stand in the way of achieving the general objectives of the organization, as participation in itself becomes the means to an end. Ultimately, certain aspects can risk obscuring the organization’s possibility of initiating a change in the Chilean society.
Publication date2017
Number of pages46
ID: 261129601