Where I belong: Identification processes of young volunteers in super-diverse cities

Marie Lehner, Astrid Mattes*, Ilona van Breugel, Ursula Reeger, Peter Scholten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


In the context of super-diverse cities, scholars and policy makers are increasingly interested in the potential of volunteering to establish identification for newcomers and locals alike. In this paper, we address the question of how young volunteers in Rotterdam and Vienna negotiate belonging within their super-diverse surroundings. Our exploratory study builds on a cross-national research project in which we collected qualitative interview data from volunteering youth. We follow a weak-theory approach and conceptualise belonging as emotional, procedural, and relational. We trace identification processes of newcomers and locals in terms of belonging through volunteering in urban contexts of super-diversity. Our paper demonstrates that volunteering serves as a vehicle for feelings of belonging and inclusion for young volunteers, specifically addressing the urban super-diversity of Vienna and Rotterdam. Our research also indicates the partiality and temporality of volunteering as a source of belonging and the function of volunteering as a structure of inclusion, not necessarily enabling structural inclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Commission, Grant No. 821619.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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