Encountering refugees beyond urban Europe: everyday interactions, pragmatics and outcomes
Birgitte Romme Larsen (University of Copenhagen)
Susanne Bygnes (University of Bergen)
Lisa Åkesson (University of Gothenburg)
Friday 17 August, 9:00-10:45, 11:15-13:00 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

In anthropology, non-urban areas comprise little recognized destinations for international migrants in Europe. This panel addresses the encounter between refugees/asylum seekers and local populations outside major cities, its everyday interactions, pragmatics and socio-cultural outcomes.

Long abstract:

This panel explores the potentials in anthropology for an empirical, theoretical, and methodological cross-hatching of 'migration' and 'non-urban spaces.' The practice of cross-ethnic co-living has been a core topic in anthropological studies of international migration in Europe, but it has overwhelmingly been examined in cosmopolitan urban settings. However, in recent years the geographical dispersal of refugees and asylum seekers to rural districts has become the political norm and practice within numerous European countries. This in-migration sometimes takes place in a context of protracted rural crisis and vulnerability, as demographic, political and economic changes reshape local lives. Yet, studies of the socio-economic and socio-cultural consequences of such co-residency within non-urban, peripheral areas, often characterized by small-scale, traditionally ethnically homogeneous local communities, remain scarce. Against this background, this panel will explore the overall encounter between refugees/asylum seekers and non-urban local populations, its everyday interactions, pragmatics and outcomes, through different local migratory settings of social inclusion/exclusion, mobility/immobility, and connectivity/disconnectivity.

We invite contributions based on ethnographic research in non-urban areas of Europe and the wider Global North addressing issues such as:

• The everyday consequences of local migratory encounters for shaping refugee and local understandings of themselves

• Local perceptions of - and responses to - refugees/asylum seekers and their consequences for resettlement and multiethnic co-residency in small-scale communities

• Local routines and pragmatics of local migratory encounters that complicate dominant ideological discourse (e.g. humanitarianism, xenophobia) and moves beyond the urban predisposition and vocabulary in the field of international migration in Europe and the Global North today