Drawing back the curtains: everyday processes of inclusion and exclusion among newly arrived refugees in rural Denmark
Birgitte Romme Larsen
(University of Copenhagen)
Paper short abstract:
The paper will investigate the everyday negotiations of inclusion, exclusion and belonging that take place in encounters between newly arrived refugee families and inhabitants in local communities in rural Denmark. What kinds of social relations develop between refugee families and their neighbours and what is the role of local everyday routines?
Paper long abstract:
The paper will investigate how refugee families, admitted into Denmark as UN quota refugees 1-2 years ago and living in Danish rural and provincial areas, seek to become integrated in local communities through everyday interaction with local inhabitants. Since 1999 the Danish authorities have dispersed refugees in ethnically Danish rural communities and small towns in accordance with the Danish government's integration policies. Thus, the majority of refugees granted asylum today are placed in smaller municipalities with few refugee or immigrant residents. For new refugees in Denmark, conditions for establishing new social networks have changed radically as they are now, to a larger degree, expected to create social relations with ethnic Danes rather than with people of their own ethnic origin (or other immigrant-/refugee populations). But how does this political intention translate into practice? How does the social incorporation of refugees into society unfold when it takes place, not in the diversity of the city, but in the uniformity of a small rural community? Based on ethnographic cases the paper will explore the everyday negotiations of inclusion, exclusion and belonging that take place in encounters between newly arrived refugee families and ethnic Danes within the local neighbourhood. What kinds of social relations develop between refugee families and their neighbours and what is the role of everyday routines, such as the routinized local practices of gardening and house keeping?
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