Grassroots Volunteerism in Athens: Notes from the Field

Marie Aline Klinger, Lisa Nüsslein, Elena Liberati, Elena Nikiforova

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Three years after the closing of the Balkan route and implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement, Athens is still a hub and junction for people on the move in Greece. As a response to this influx, an extensive humanitarian field embracing a wide spectrum of actors has developed, from small grassroots organisations to large INGOs. Volunteers play a crucial role in the functioning of this field. This paper is based on a pilot study of people who cooperate on a voluntary basis with small-scale initiatives in Athens. As our research shows, many small-scale initiatives’ participants perceive ‘volunteering’ - and their labelling as volunteers - problematic. This paper explores why the conventional V-term has become controversial, considers its alternative labels, and links this conceptual debate to the broader problems of humanitarianism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalOxford Monitor of Forced Migration
Issue number1
Early online date21 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • humanitarian
  • grassroots initiatives
  • Greece
  • forced migration


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