Feeling Strange. The Role of Emotion in Maintaining and Overcoming Borders and Boundaries


  • Paul Scheibelhofer University of Innsbruck, Austria




borders, boundaries, emotions, social processes, political discourse


This article argues that a focus on emotion and affect helps to understand the processes of constructing and negotiating borders and boundaries critically. To do so, the article analyses two distinct yet connected cases in Austria: On the one hand, it discusses political discourse after the so-called “refugee crisis” of 2015 and shows, how a “politics of fear” was employed to regain control after a brief moment of relative freedom of movement. The second part of the analysis presents outcomes of an interview-based study with Austrians who engaged in a very intense form of refugee help by entering sponsorships with young male refugees. The analysis shows the role of emotions in legitimate restrictive border practices as well as their potential of creating solidarity across boundaries.

Author Biography

Paul Scheibelhofer, University of Innsbruck, Austria

Asociate Professor, Department of Educational Science


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How to Cite

Scheibelhofer, P. (2020). Feeling Strange. The Role of Emotion in Maintaining and Overcoming Borders and Boundaries. Migration Letters, 17(4), 541–550. https://doi.org/10.59670/ml.v17i4.711