Dynamics of inequality in volunteer social work with refugees

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Ida Hindbo
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
This thesis has sought to elucidate the dynamics of inequality that characterize relationships formed in volunteer social work with refugees, and has furthermore intended to shed light on which consequences these dynamics bring about. The thesis is focusing on a social integration project under the youth organization, DFUNK – Dansk Flygtningehjælp Ungdom, where youth with refugee background and Danish background appear as both volunteers as well as participants. Through focus group interviews with volunteers and qualitative interviews with participants, subjective descriptions of the relationships are included from an array of perspectives and have furthermore been nuanced through a participant observation study. With an intersectional theoretical outline, it has been possible to shed light on how racialized positions can create further interpersonal dynamics of inequality. The analysis is, aside from its intersectional outline, pending on a compound theoretical approach providing different explanations and perspectives on the research focus. Based on the analytical results, it is concluded that the emotional exchange of sympathy has a consequence of maintaining youth with refugee background in a position as someone you first and foremost have compassion for. It is moreover concluded that certain expectations exist and create ideas of whom, due to specific characteristics; such as skin color or language, are misguidedly placed within the roles of either volunteer or participant. In addition it is concluded that a glass ceiling effect constituted by norms and expectations are to be found within the groups of volunteers that make it more difficult for volunteers with refugee background to advance themselves as volunteers on equal terms as the Danish volunteers. However, it is also concluded that a mutual interest in maintaining the relationships exists, alongside the dynamics of inequality and the resulting consequences.
Publication date2020
Number of pages75
External collaboratorDansk Flygtningehjælp Ungdom
no name vbn@aub.aau.dk
ID: 333334498