Nicholas R. Micinski will give a talk titled "Everyday Humanitarianism & New Technologies: Civil Society Responses to the Refugee Crisis in Greece." This talk is sponsored by the Eastman Fund, the Lamont Fund and the Department of Political Science at Amherst College. It is free and open to the public. Micinski is a research associate at the EU Studies Center at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.
In the summer of 2015, large numbers of refugees and migrants arrived on the shores of the Aegean islands, but the Greek government and international organizations were slow to respond. How did civil society actors coordinate their responses when national, regional and global governance failed? This presentation will describe how civil society actors improvised their response through new cyber-technologies and everyday coordination mechanisms defined as the informal processes for communication and decision-making that make up the day-to-day action of implementation. In Greece, four examples of everyday coordination emerged: new technologies (like Facebook groups and WhatsApp chats), peer-to-peer refugee coordination, maps of services and field-level working groups. Everyday coordination threatened traditional authority in the state or international organizations, because it governed actors in a different way, created parallel systems and sometimes promoted competing goals. The Greek government responded by institutionalizing, co-opting and cracking down on civil society actors helping refugees.