This book investigates the issue of local mobilization against asylum seekers in urban areas, which are often disproportionally affected by complex issues related to immigration and integration, as well as socio-economic development and growing inequalities. Based on ethnographic research in the city of Rotterdam, it explores the conditions under which mobilization against the establishment of an asylum seekers’ centre emerged, offering a combined analysis of interviews, social media, and mainstream media to demonstrate the key role played by storytelling in the development of opposition to the arrival of asylum seekers. Presenting a theoretical model of anti-immigration mobilization that connects the social importance of storytelling to broader socio-political developments and conditions, this volume will appeal to scholars of sociology, anthropology, and politics with interests in migration, social movements, and mobilization around contentious issues.

chapter 1|7 pages


The refugee crisis in an urban context

chapter 2|49 pages

Why do people protest against asylum seekers?

A story-based approach

chapter 3|24 pages

Immigration and urban space

The Dutch context

chapter 4|25 pages

Stories and the self

Identity and fear of the ‘other’

chapter 5|17 pages

Stories you can touch

Urban materiality and protest

chapter 6|30 pages

Voiceless stories

Contentious politics and distrust

chapter 7|17 pages

Media coverage of protest

Dominant stories and counterstories

chapter 8|19 pages

An online echo chamber?

Social media and mobilization

chapter 9|14 pages


Why stories matter