Grandhotel Cosmopolis : a lesson taught by civil society
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The Grandhotel Cosmopolis is one out of eight collective accommodation centres for asylum seekers in Augsburg, Germany. It was initiated and is now run by a collective of artists and activists with a housing capacity for 56 asylum seekers. The thesis at hand aims at analysing appraisal of asylum seekers as well as the policy preferences towards asylum seeking persons of staff members in the centres. The author will conduct a comparison of the activists, the so-called hoteliers, working in the Grandhotel Cosmopolis on the one hand, and the directors of all eight collective accommodation centres in Augsburg, who are employed by the government of Swabia, on the other hand. To be able to conceive the staff members’ appraisal and policy preference, interviews with standardized questionnaires have been conducted and evaluated. Findings show that appraisal of asylum seekers as beneficial or threatening to the receiving society predict support for immigration policy directed either at defending immigrants’ rights or defending the receiving society. Furthermore, a difference in attitudes and policy preferences could be found for the hoteliers in the Grandhotel Cosmopolis and the directors of the collective accommodation centres. Directors’ appraisals revealed an ambivalent relationship towards asylum seekers.