Accepted paper:

Housing Policy and Arrival Infrastructures: Asylum seekers’ chances for belonging and wellbeing in Norway

Authors:

Anne Sigfrid Grønseth (Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Lillehammer)

Paper short abstract:

Departing from an interdisciplinary and ethnographic study of asylum seeker receptions in Norway, this paper explores the housing and arrival infrastructures as it is shaped by and shapes the political and social boundaries of those who are seen as eligible and (il)legitimate dwellers and newcomers.

Paper long abstract:

Departing from an interdisciplinary and ethnographic study of asylum seeker receptions in Norway, this paper explores the housing and arrival infrastructures as it is shaped by and shapes the political and social boundaries of those who are seen as eligible and (il)legitimate dwellers and newcomers. Housing, places and the arrival infrastructures are both catalysts and embodiments of societal change and includes both micro-local and macro-global transformations that rescale and reshape social space and the redrawing of the layout and social composition of places. Arrival infrastructures and residential environments do not only express cultural values, but also shape conditions for group- and individual identities and belonging, active (inter)relations and interplay as they stay or move on. This affects possibilities for just and equal influence and participation in political and civil associations, and access to education, work, health and social services, leisure activities and soci al networks. The paper argues that the structure and quality of asylum seekers’ arrival and accommodation become a mode of governing, and as such represent a “politics of discomfort. More so, the paper emphasizes the ethic and aesthetic dimensions of infrastructures and built environment’s interplay in communicating social identity, stigma, power relations and citizenship. Overarching, the paper highlights how asylum seekers’ housing, arrival structures and residential environments promote instability and insecurity more than stability and settlement, thus, challenging senses of belonging and wellbeing.

panel P127
Vulnerability and housing policies: anthropological insights across Europe