Accepted Paper:

Making place in Copenhagen: local lives and ritual performances among Iraqi refugees  

Author:

Marianne Holm Pedersen (Danish Folklore Archives at the Royal Danish Library)

Paper long abstract:

The experience of migration may greatly challenge migrants' notions of locality and belonging. This paper explores how Iraqi Shi'a Muslim women in Copenhagen use ritual performances to construct a sense of belonging to the place where they live. In sharp contrast to the fact that women's religious activities in many ways contribute to categorizing them as outsiders to Danish society, their participation in religious events also localizes them in the city. This happens because they celebrate holidays with local social relations in particular local places. The paper ultimately takes issue with the widespread notion that the performance of traditions and religious rituals among migrants should be interpreted as a site of resistance to incorporation to the local place. By distinguishing between inclusion on the local and national levels, it highlights the complexities and contradictions in migrants' identities and notions of belonging.

Panel W037
The local in times of change