Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Institut für Europäische Ethnologie

Abstract Marie-Therese Reichenbach

"Limited Europe?! Homelessness of Mobile EU-Citizens in Germany"

Since many years there has been a rising number of homeless service users from different EU-countries in many european cities. As reported, a high percentage of them is using especially services that provide basics, such as food, clothes, medical treatment etc. Most of these users are citizens of the member states that joined EU in 2004 and later. This situation goes along with different challenges, like communication problems, experiences of discrimination, legal restrictions, lack of funding and a stigmatizing public discourse about so-called „poverty migration“. In the end, social workers often feel unable to find solutions for the social problem of homelessness of EU-citizens. In my research I approach this situation through the lense of critical migration studies and look into the negotiation processes by which intra-EU-migration is regulated. Within this perspective Social Work with its field of homeless services is especially challenged, for beeing both a nationally regulated player and a profession based on international human rights. My main research questions are: How is intra-EU-migration regulated? In which subjectivities do those processes result? Which strategies do homeless mobile EU-citizens use to deal with or escape the regulation attempts? Which geographies of Europe are produced in this field? Which role does Social Work play in these conflicts? The aim of my research is to show that Europe is constantly (re-)produced not only at its (geographic) borders, but also in it's "centers", i.e. that "Europe" itself is a borderland (Balibar).