“I have Felt so Much Joy”: The Role of Emotions in Community Sponsorship of Refugees

Jenny Phillimore, Marisol Reyes Soto, Natasha Nicholls, Gabriella D'Avino

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Resettlement programmes are considered one solution to displacement following the so-called refugee crisis. Private or community-based sponsorship models enable volunteer groups to take responsibility resettling refugees. The UK Community Sponsorship scheme (CS) allows volunteer groups to support refugee families in their community. This paper explores the role of emotions in CS using Jaspers three-stage social action life cycle (1998) drawing upon Doidge and Sandri’s (Br J Sociol 70: 463–480, 2018) positive and negative emotions, Jaspers (Sociol Forum 13: 397–424, 1998) reactive and affective continuum and Hoggett and Miller’s (Community Dev J 35: 352–364, 2000) individual/group features to explore the role of emotions in CS work. Using interview data collected from 123 interviews with 22 sponsorship groups, we find across the life cycle that there is a shift from negative reactive emotions during group initiation to positive affective emotions during consolidation and finally a mix of negative and positive affective emotions as groups become sustained. Understanding the role of emotions in motivating and sustaining volunteers is essential to the success of the CS, to encourage group formation and reduce burnout.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the University of Birmingham (internal funds).

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


  • Community sponsorship
  • Emotions
  • Refugees
  • Social action
  • Volunteers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Strategy and Management


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