• Katrine Isabella Gramstrup Nissen
4. term, Global Refugee Studies, Master (Master Programme)
This master thesis project investigates how privilege and inequality is experienced, reproduced
and resisted by volunteers in the Danish NGO/community center for refugees and asylum
seekers, Trampoline House. On the basis of an overall theoretical framework composed firstly of
theories of critical race studies provided mainly by Ruth Frankenberg, Peggy McIntosh,
Kimberlé Crenshaw and Audre Lorde and secondly by structuration theory as presented by
Anthony Giddens, this thesis analyzes the social narratives of eight current or former volunteers
from Trampoline House on the grounds of three online focus group discussions. Critical race
theory has been pivotal in understanding and analyzing narratives of privilege and inequality,
and structuration theory has provided the optimal framework for conducting this analysis. As I
align myself with Giddens in the greater structure/agency debate, I understand structures as
both limiting and enabling, meaning that the narratives of the volunteers can be both
constrained reproductions of already existing structures of power, as well as modes of resistance
to the structures. In fully comprehending the structurations of privilege as narrated by the
volunteers, I have divided the analysis in two parts. The first part of the analysis focuses on the
narratives of the volunteers, exploring how they understand privilege and experience inequality
in the volunteer context. In the second part of the analysis, I elevate the analysis and unfold the
structures surrounding and dictating the narratives of the volunteers, as the answer to how the
volunteers resist and reproduce structures are to be found also in the structural contexts of
Trampoline House and the wider society. In investigating structures of privilege and inequality,
the analysis additionally engages in a larger analytical discussion on how it is possible to work
responsibly with privilege in marginalized communities. In conclusion, it is demonstrated that
the volunteers are unsuccessful in resisting the current structures as they experience them,
despite an awareness on issues of privilege and inequality. Because the volunteers are shaped by
the very privilege they speak of, they are taught not to recognize it in themselves, and as a result
they push away the responsibility of creating change. It is additionally concluded that the pivotal
first step towards resisting the current structures is to acknowledge how Trampoline House as an
organization is complicit in the current structurations of privilege, which is informed and shaped
by imperialism. On the grounds of this analysis, I argue for an examination of the construction of
privilege in Trampoline House in order to work responsibly with structures of privilege and
inequality in the meeting between volunteers and refugees
Publication date27 May 2020
Number of pages39
ID: 333141640