IMER Lunch: Astrid Ouahyb Sundsbø – Social mixing policies: What You Want and What You Get
In the public debate and contemporary social policies in Norway as well as in other countries, concentrations of “immigrants” in certain areas of a city are considered to be unfortunate and something which needs to be fought against (see i.e. Gakkestad 2003; Akerhaug 2012). It is anticipated that spatial concentrations of “immigrants” enforces the social isolation of “immigrants” and triggers criminal activities, among other aspects. This becomes very obvious when a “high percentage of immigrants” in an area serves as basis for referring to that area as a “ghetto” or “insecure” (see i.e. Sæter 2005; Vassenden: 2007; cf. Akerhaug 2012).
In this lunch seminar, the idea of social mixing, which is not just common in the general public debate but also a manifested major urban policy and planning goal (Sæter & Ruud 2005; Huse, Sæter & Aniksdal 2010; cf. Musterd 2005) will be discussed. By using some illustrations both from the academic debate as well as own empirical work, it is shown that it is necessary to be critical about this concept.
It is referred to literature arguing that there is a lack of empirical evidence showing that the residential segregation of “immigrants” has any effect at all, for instance on “integration” and crime (for instance Musterd 2005; Galster 2007; Lees 2008). Furthermore, it is discussed that the imagination of social mixing as an ideal way to tackle the “multicultural challenge” might be founded on a highly problematic understanding of “immigrants“ and their norms and values as inherently “bad” (cf. Eriksen 1996: 51). This is shown by drawing on statements from interviews with members from the majority population residing in Oslo.
Astrid Ouahyb Sundsbø
Astrid Ouahyb Sundsbø (PhD) is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Georg-Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies in Berlin. She holds a doctoral degree in sociology from the Humboldt-University of Berlin (2012). From 2012-2014 she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for a Sustainable University at the University of Hamburg. Her main fields of research compromise: Social inequality, residential segregation in cities, migration and interethnic relations. Her most recent publication is Grenzziehungen in der Stadt. Ethnische Kategorien und die Wahrnehmung und Bewertung von Wohnorten (Springer VS, 2014) where it is discussed whether ethnic boundary making on the side of the majority population could be a possible explanation for the residential concentration of immigrants in Berlin and Oslo.
Redigert av Christine Jacobsen, Synnøve Bendixsen, Karl Harald Søvig
Med en unik kombinasjon av juridisk og antropologisk blikk, går boken regelverket nærmere i sømmene, drøfter gatebyråkraters utfordringer og hverdagslivet til irregulære migranter og deres barn.
Hvilke regelverk får konsekvenser for irregulære migranters levevilkår? Hvordan blir dette regelverket forstått og etterfulgt av gatebyråkrater? Og hvordan blir hverdagslivet til irregulære migranter og deres barn påvirket av regelverket og dets fortolkning?
Denne boken er aktuell for velferdsprofesjoner som møter irregulære migranter som en del av sin yrkesutøvelse. Både leger, sykepleiere, helsesekretærer, lærere, helsesøstre, skolerådgivere, sosialarbeidere, sosionomer og barnevernspedagoger vil ha god nytte av Eksepsjonell velferd? Irregulære migranter i det norske velferdssamfunnet. Boken retter seg også mot frivillige organisasjoner som jobber med ulike aspekter ved migranters situasjon i Norge og andre som er engasjert i temaet.
Susanne Wessendorf: Pioneer migrants in a super-diverse context
Urban areas in Europe and beyond have seen significant changes in patterns of immigration, leading to profound diversification. This diversification is characterized by the multiplication of people of different national origins, but also differentiations regarding migration histories, religions, educational backgrounds, legal statuses and socio-economic backgrounds. This ‘diversification of diversity’ is now commonly described as ‘super-diversity’. Despite an increasing number of studies looking at how people live together in such super-diverse contexts, little is known about new patterns of immigration into such contexts. What are the newly emerging countries of origin which add to the diversification of already super-diverse areas? Where do recent migrants from unusual source countries, who cannot draw on already existing migrant or ethnic ‘communities’, find support? And what kinds of social networks do they form? This paper discusses pathways of settlement among recently arrived migrants from non-traditional countries of origin in the London Borough of Hackney. Drawing on earlier migration literature and the notion of ‘pioneer migration’, the paper addresses the challenges of analysing increasingly fragmented migration stories and pathways of settlement in super-diverse contexts.
Thomas Hylland Eriksen: The tension between superdiversity and cultural reproduction
From a bird’s eye perspective, Alna borough in eastern Oslo definitely looks superdiverse. Scores of languages are spoken in its population of 40,000, and its inhabitants come from about as many countries. Yet at the local level, social and cultural reproduction takes place to a great extent at the ethnic or community level. As one of our informants says, ‘I sometimes feel as though I am in Pakistan’. Had it not been for the strong presence of the Norwegian state, the suburb would have resembled the plural societies described in the mid-20th century by Furnivall and Smith, where ethnic groups, like pearls on a necklace, lead parallel lives but meet in the marketplace. How comprehensive is the influence of the state; in what ways does diversity in public affect the private sphere, and what are the main elements in the cultural reproduction of minority groups?
Kicking off a new semester with IMER lunch seminars, our first seminar this year is building on exciting fieldwork from Bergen. Hilde Danielsen from Uni Research Rokkansenteret is giving a presentation about the symbolic value of birthday parties in contemporary Norway.
Danielsen argues that birthday celebrations have become more than a private family matter, and are increasingly seen as a socially charged question in Norwegian society. Many parents with and without migration background, as well as teachers and other actors, claim that birthday parties have the potential to create social inclusion. They are especially concerned that children with migrant background should celebrate and attend. Celebrating birthdays has seemingly become one of the litmus tests of whether an immigrant individual or an immigrant group is integrated into Norwegian society.
Note the place: Lauritz Meltzers hus (SV-bygget), room 212.
As usual, a light lunch will be served. All are welcome!
In recent years, a large number of Syrian refugees have settled in Europe. In the media, most of the debate concerning these refugees has been about how they impact their host societies. But how does this large Syrian diaspora impact politics in Syria itself?
For this IMER lunch seminar, we will be joined by Amany Selim and Espen Stokke, PhD candidates at sociology and comparative politics at UiB. They both do research projects where they explore the engagement of Syrian diaspora activists, and how these activists try to make a difference in the homeland. With their work on the Syrian case, they are hoping to contribute to the growing body of literature that attempts to bridge social movement theory and diaspora politics.
In the presentation, Selim and Stokke will give a brief overview of the field: What do we know about the activism of the Syrian diaspora? They will also present their own projects, and what they wish to add to the field.
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. Welcome!
Andrea Grønningsæter is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Law, Bergen University.
‘Crimmigration’ has become a critical “catch all” concept for legal scholars, criminologists, and sociologists alike. The concept describes the way two previously separate state control spheres – border control and crime control – influence each other and are part of the same control mechanism experiences and developments. This concept, for example, helps understand Trump’s effort to legitimize the tightening of immigration policy. It refers to both the protection of American economy and jobs and the explicit intent to protect American citizens from terrorists, rapists, and gang members. For this IMER lunch seminar, Synnøve Jahnsen from Rokkansenteret will talk about the usefulness of crimmigration as a concept in other settings. She will draw on empirical examples from her research on prostitution and human trafficking, Norwegian labour market crime policies, and the policing of outlaw motorcycle clubs and youth gangs in Australia and Europe. She will also use the opportunity to promote her new co-edited book “Criminal Justice in the Era of Mass Mobility” and highlight some of the methodological challenges faced by researchers in her field.
A light lunch will be served. All welcome!
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) work closely with refugees by providing services and assistance. However, refugees might also be subjected to misconduct by NGOs. In such a scenario, how can NGOs be held accountable for wrongful acts?
For this IMER lunch seminar, Marianne Nerland from the Faculty of Law at UiB will present preliminary findings from her PhD project which explores recourses available to refugees seeking justice against NGOs. By drawing on interviews conducted with refugees as well as aid workers in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, Marianne will argue that there are serious legal obstacles that refugees face when wanting to file complaints against NGOs. This case highlights the need for an enhanced structure for NGO accountability in refugee camps.
A light lunch will be served! All welcome!
Since the refugee reception crisis in 2015, asylum seekers and refugees have often been at the centre of public and scholarly debate. However, the focus has frequently been on the problems they bring about for host countries. Less attention has been placed on asylum seekers’ aspirations, dreams and plans after arrival. Yet these are meaningful to study given that aspirations can have a significant impact on people’s future trajectories and hence, the ways they incorporate into their new homes. Furthermore, desire, despite having a strong agentic nature, is deeply entangled in the social structures and discourses that newcomers are surrounded by.
In this seminar, Zubia Willmann, will be presenting her article in which she explores how the aspirations of women who came to Norway as asylum seekers change over time, the elements that may be involved in such changes as well as how these women go about pursuing their aspirations. She draws on intermittent fieldwork for one and a half years (2017-2019) in which she followed women seeking asylum in Norway, from the stages in which they lived in asylum centres to the early stages of settlement in a Norwegian municipality.
A light lunch will be served! All welcome.
Zubia Willmann is a currently a PhD candidate at VID Specialized University, Stavanger with a project exploring how women seeking asylum in Norway go about starting their life in their new home. She has an interdisciplinary background, her main fields of interest being migration studies but also gender and religion studies among others. She has been recently a visiting scholar at the Migration and Diversity Centre at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Zubia is also a member of the IMER Junior Scholars Network.
There is a deep-rooted cultural belief that encounters between strangers in local settings can bring about social change. Mette Strømsø, a researcher at the Sociology Department UiB, brings this aspect to the forefront in her study of local community initiatives established in the wake of the refugee influx in 2015. Mette will present her co-authored article with Susanne Bygnes whereby they strive to unpack the promise, inherent contradictions and transformative potential of the facilitated encounters in local communities where newcomers settled. The reference to Karen Blixen’s short story Babette’s feast indicate the cultural resonance of the promise in the facilitated encounters between newcomers and permanent residents.
Mette Strømsø is a researcher for IMEX at the department of Sociology, UiB. She holds a PhD in Human. Her research interests fall at the intersection of political geography and social and cultural geography, with a focus on everyday nationhood and especially the reconciliation between nation and diversity.
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