We investigate the bridging interactions between migrant-background and native-born volunteers. Bridging interactions are the connections that occur across social lines between dissimilar groups. Bridging interactions are a core topic in civil society research that is concerned with questions of trust-building through volunteering and civic engagement. Such interactions between native-born and immigrants in voluntary settings are important for both the immigrants and policymakers occupied with the challenge of immigration and integration. While past studies have addressed the topic of immigrant volunteering from a quantitative approach, we offer a qualitative analysis of the micro-interactions of immigrant and native-born volunteers within nonprofit organizations in Germany. Using 22 in-depth interviews, we explore the interaction experiences and the relations of trust and conflict among volunteers of migrant and native origins. We find that volunteering interactions bridge differences between immigrant and native-born populations by reducing exclusionary effects among differing groups. Immigrant volunteering acts as an accelerator to integration due to two characteristics the volunteers have in common: the willingness to adapt to each other’s cultures and the prioritization of the recipients’ needs.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2019, International Society for Third-Sector Research.
- Established–outsider theory
- Immigrant volunteering
- Refugee work
- Social integration