Between supporting and reporting

Grassroots textual responses to the pushbacks at the fringes of EU


  • Marijana Hameršak Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, Zagreb

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Balkan migratory trail, ethnography, grassroots pro-migrant groups, humanitarianisms, human rights reporting, pushbacks


In response to the mass mobilities disruption of the European Union border control regime, numerous self-organized, pro-migrant ad hoc solidarity groups proliferated across Europe. Depending on the local, national, and migratory contexts, these groups employed different methods and practices to support the people on the move and to challenge the inefficient, bureaucratized, discriminatory and securitized modes of action of official, state and humanitarian actors. Some practices that were developed in this framework of grassroots or vernacular humanitarianism with strong solidarity and a volunteer dimension (Brković, 2017; McGee and Pelham, 2017; Rozakou, 2017a; Sandri, 2018) outgrew the initial crisis context and evolved over time into distinctive formats of response to the border restrictions, exclusions, and violence. One of them is still today a lating practice of reporting of pushbacks by grassroots groups active at different locations at the southeastern territorial fringes of the EU. After reviewing the relevant literature and  outlining the grassroots, self-organized, humanitarian and human rights background of pushback reports and reporting practices, the author focuses on these reports as a form of writing. Interest in the style, narrtive structure, and positionality of these reports opens questions of their parallels with ethnographic inquiries.




How to Cite

Hameršak, M. 2021. Between supporting and reporting: Grassroots textual responses to the pushbacks at the fringes of EU. Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics. 7, 2 (Jul. 2021), 49–72. DOI:



Grassroots responses to mass migration in Europe