Author Archives: ase093

IMER Lunch Seminar 04.12: Refugees, Temporality, and the Public Refugee Service System

Refugees that are granted residency in Norway are temporarily immobilized in their new home municipalities through a combination of regulations. These regulations include the Introduction Act and the government’s policy of refugee dispersal. In what is to be their temporary community over a period usually lasting somewhere between 2-5 years, those settled undergo a process of (re-)qualification, or the introduction program, through which they are to be prepared for life in Norway. For this IMER lunch seminar, Gard Høibjerg from Inland University of Applied Sciences will present data gathered through seven months of ethnographic fieldwork in four rural municipalities. In his fieldwork, Gard followed the daily operations of refugee administration and adult education centers, interviewed the users of these services (i.e. people settled as refugees) and attended a series of meetings and activities organized by the volunteer sector. Based on this fieldwork, Gard will present findings from a paper that is currently under review named ‘We do not use freezers in Syria’: exploring the pursuit of belonging among refugees in a Norwegian village. Here, he offers a theoretical approach to better understand the process of refugee integration through a focus on the mundane activities of everyday life.

A light lunch will be served. All welcome!

 Gard Ringen Høibjerg is a PhD-candidate in public innovation at the Inland University of Applied Sciences in Lillehammer. His PhD project aims to analyze refugee integration in rural municipalities in Norway through a service perspective.

IMER Lunch Seminar 15.11: What does it mean to be an “active citizen” in Scandinavia?

In current debates about multicultural societies, ideas about active citizenship sometimes play a part. The increase of ethnic, cultural and religious diversity in Scandinavia has led to integration and naturalization policies that focus on social cohesion and stress the need for a shared set of values, identities and commitment to active participation in society. What kind of engagement is seen as good and legitimate, and what kinds of engagement are seen as illegitimate? For this IMER lunch seminar, Noor Jdid from PRIO and SKOK will present insights from her PhD project, which explores active citizenship in Norway and Denmark, among both minority and majority populations. She draws on ethnographic fieldwork in five different neighbourhoods in Oslo (Tøyen, Holmlia, Røa) and Copenhagen (Østerbro, Sydhavn), consisting of 69 life history interviews and 13 focus group discussions with residents of these neighbourhoods, as well as expert interviews and participatory observation. The analysis shows that the intersection of place, gender, class and ethnicity often shapes citizens’ understandings of their own civic engagement. When determining what ‘counts’ as a legitimate and valuable contribution to society, the research participants drew gendered and racialized discursive boundaries between the public and the private spheres.

The seminar will take place at the seminar room, 2nd floor at Sampol.

A light lunch will be served. All welcome!

  Noor Jdid is a Doctoral Researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and Center for Women’s and Gender Research (SKOK). Her PhD is part of the larger SAMKUL-project “Active Citizenship in Religiously and Culturally Diverse Societies

IMER Lunch Seminar 18.10: Staying in Norway or Staying in the Closet? Sexual Orientation and Refugee Status in Norway

If a LGBTI person can “stay in the closet” in the country of origin, should she then be denied asylum as a refugee? This is currently a thorny issue for several European countries, when facing asylum seekers who apply for protection on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. For this IMER seminar, Andrea Grønningsæter from the faculty of law at UiB will discuss how this is currently practiced in Norway.

Research has shown that that LGBTI people (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people) often face specific legal and procedural challenges when applying for refugee status. In a number of jurisdictions, including Norway, LGBTI asylum seekers have been denied refugee status with reference to the fact that they can abstain from behavior that may result in a risk of persecution. A gay person can live as a gay within the confines of the home, for example, but not on the streets – and may thus not be granted protection. It is then concluded that the requirement in refugee law of establishing a ‘well-founded fear’ of persecution is not fulfilled, because concealment will mean that the asylum seeker is not revealed to potential persecutors.

In 2012 the Norwegian Supreme Court considered the right to refugee status based on sexual orientation (Rt. 2012 s. 494). In the court’s decision it was stated that a gay person may not be required to hide their sexual orientation in the country of origin to avoid persecution. In cases where it is concluded that the asylum seeker will choose to conceal their sexual orientation, the court established a step-by-step approach for assessing whether the asylum seeker is entitled to refugee status.

For her PhD project, Grønningsæter looks at how the approach that was established by the Supreme Court in 2012 for assessing asylum cases based on sexual orientation or gender identity is interpreted by the courts and the immigration authorities. She explores how the courts and immigration authorities establish the asylum seeker’s reason for concealment, as well as how concepts such as ‘being open’ or ‘discreet’ about sexual orientation or gender identity is understood.

A light lunch will be served at the seminar. Welcome!

Andrea Grønningsæter is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, Bergen University.

 

IMER Lunch Seminar 20.09: Managing Diversity in the City

MER Bergen starts off our seminar series this fall with a local focus. The city of Bergen has become increasingly ethnically diverse. Refugees have settled here, and labor migrants have come here to seek work. How does this impact the city of Bergen? What are the benefits, and what are the challenges? How does the municipality of Bergen manage this increasing diversity?

In this presentation, Sølve Sætre from the municipality of Bergen will present how the city of Bergen attempts to approach diversity. For several years, Sætre has been the main responsible for developing diversity policy at the municipality. Among other things, he has initiated a dialogue project together with the mosques in Bergen, he has been working with issues related to Roma migrants, and written the plans for diversity and inclusion. How has this approach worked?

A lunch will be served at the seminar. Welcome!

Sølve Sætre is an advisor at the Municipality of Bergen, tasked with developing diversity policy. He has a master’s degree in Comparative Politics from UiB.