© University of Augsburg

If man is not the master of his home, then this also affects the refugees who visit us as guests in need. The issue of refugees is as old as the right to hospitality. Even Oedipus finds himself a wandering asylum seeker. But with the advent of globalization, the status of the refugee is expanding. In a phenomenology of the Foreign, the arrival and reception of those seeking protection is a double event that constantly evokes new answers. Hospitality is by no means to be taken for granted. Enmity can be understood as suppressed alienation; this displacement however, not only points to one's own desires and fears, but also to the demands of others. Levinas and Derrida stress the unconditional nature of hospitality. But this can only be realized as an excessive demand that exceeds the given conditions, in a reactive policy that intervenes in the existing conditions. This raises questions such as: Who is accepting guests? Where are they accommodated, how long do they stay there?  Which intermediary instances are involved? Where should therapies begin? Which new perspectives are emerging? What is asked of those arriving? Is there not also an infantilization of the victims? What is needed is a policy of the foreign that casts a new light on the concepts of the "domestic" and the "foreign". "We can do it" - who are we, who are you?

Bernhard Waldenfels, born 1934 in Essen, studied philosophy, psychology, classical philology and history in Bonn, Innsbruck, Munich and Paris. He is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the Ruhr-University Bochum, honorary doctorate at the Universities of Rostock and Freiburg, co-founder of the German Society for Phenomenological Research. He has taught as a visiting professor in Debrecen, Hong Kong, Paris, Louvain-la-Neuve, New York, Prague, Rotterdam, Rome, San José and Vienna. One focal point of his work is the responsive phenomenology of the foreign.

Selected Publication [in German]: Phänomenologie in Frankreich (1983), Ordnung im Zwielicht (1987), Der Stachel des Fremden (1990), Antwortregister (1994), Das leibliche Selbst (2000), Bruchlinien der Erfahrung (2002), Grundmotive einer Phänomenologie des Fremden (2006), Sinne und Künste im Wechselspiel (2010), Hyperphänomene (2012), Sozialität und Alterität (2015).