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Accepted paper:

(Un)settling papers: Refugees, Documents, and Bureaucracy in Denmark

Author:

Kawa Morad (University of Exeter)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, this paper looks at Syrian refugees' relationship with the state in Denmark via documents and the absence or potential non-renewability of some, namely residence permits.

Paper long abstract:

Denmark was one of the European countries that received Syrian refugees when the "refugee crisis" was at its peak in the years 2015-2016. As the refugee influx continued, the Danish government started to gradually amend residence requirements and limit refugees' access to its social welfare system. In two parts, and drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, this paper looks at Syrian refugees' relationship with the state via documents and the absence or potential non-renewability of some, namely residence permits. The first part provides a brief overview of the legal context of the Danish protection system prior to 2015 and some notable changes introduced since, especially pertaining to residence. It examines the attitudes Syrian refugees exhibit and experience in their interactions with the Danish state bureaucracy. The second part examines Syrian refugees' dealings with the state through documents, particularly those pertaining to their legal status in the country. Drawing on a rich anthropological literature on the agency of things and affectivity of bureaucracy (Miller 2005; Navaro-Yashin 2007, 2012; Hull 2012), this paper shows how the increasingly ephemeral nature of documents materializes and reproduces Syrian refugees' experiences of displacement and belonging.

panel P105
The Materiality of Migration: From 'bare necessities' to 'promising things' [ANTHROMOB]