Accepted Paper:

Behind the iron fence: exploring difference and marginality in Ljubljana  


Masa Mikola (Deakin University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores relationships between place, migration and marginality. It focuses on representation of difference through stories of recent migrants. The paper employs a specific spatial approach in studying migration. It is based on the study of certain micro-places in Ljubljana that are characterised by temporality and changeability.

Paper long abstract:

Ljubljana »Asylum home« as it is formally called was moved from the inner suburb of Ljubljana to the very fringe of the city in 2004. Basic living conditions for asylum seekers improved, but the sense of marginality deteriorated. Asylum home invokes feelings of temporality and it is deprived of any true character. How much of 'home' can the institution such as Asylum home actually afford to offer? To what extent does the place determine who one is and how one is perceived by the others?

This paper follows journeys of asylum seekers in Ljubljana in recent years, especially after 2004, and explores the impact they make on certain locations within the city. It examines migratory changes in the 'city on the crossroads' and explains the extent and ways of incorporation of difference into the city's everyday.

The paper employs a specific spatial approach to studying migration. It focuses on chosen micro places and uses different narrative approaches in trying to describe what it means to be 'different' in a city where difference was always present but only rarely challenged or appreciated. The paper deals with the notions of home, representation, place and displacement. While focusing on specific locations and specific stories of migration, it is offering alternative way to link place, movement and social dynamics in studying migration. It explains how places become politicised. By highlighting concepts such as action, communication and power, it examines tools that people use to mobilise meanings that places tend to offer.

Panel W028
Being human, being migrant: dealing with memory, dreams and hopes in everyday life