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Between being and longing: Young former refugees’ experiences of place attachment and multiple belongings
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Description
Abstract [en]

This thesis focuses on young former refugees’ lived experiences of and reflections on processes of place attachment and negotiation of belonging in Norway. The analysis draws on a postcolonial understanding of migration and belonging, and is inspired by post-structuralism and critical phenomenology. The thesis analyses belonging from two perspectives: as a personal relationship to people and places, and as relationally produced and negotiated through social discourses and boundary-making practices in everyday life. The thesis is based on fieldwork conducted with forty former refugee youths, using multiple methods such as in-depth interviews, participant observation, activity diaries, and auto-photography. In addition, teachers, municipal representatives, peer students, siblings, and parents contributed to the knowledge presented in the thesis. Article I explores how the youths’ translocal networks and practices contributed to the process of attaching to a new place, arguing that it is necessary to understand how ideas of both roots and routes are entangled in the young former refugees’ sense of belonging. Article II discusses the spatial organizing of newly arrived students in school and its social consequences. It is argued that the “foreigner” category is socially constructed through a racialization process in which space, skin colour, and language are key components, and that this process is reinforced in school. Article III explores how generic discourses rendering Muslims “the other” in Norway affect young Muslim girls’ experiences of belonging in different geographical and social spaces. The article highlights how the navigation of belonging that the girls undertook entailed constant work that they could not escape due to their visibility as Muslim girls. Article IV explores place attachment and belonging with a focus on everyday habits and routines, and shows that the youths simultaneously drew on shared knowledge from their social networks and on embodied knowledge gained through the habitual use of place to perform belonging. Overall, the thesis provides a nuanced understanding of young former refugees’ belonging that is both multi-sited and multi-layered.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala University, 2020. , p. 148
Series
Geographica, ISSN 0431-2023 ; 27
Keywords [en]
youth, refugees, place attachment, belonging, translocality, place, negotiation, racialization, education
National Category
Social and Economic Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-401838ISBN: 978-91-506-2800-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-401838DiVA, id: diva2:1384106
Public defence
2020-02-28, University Hall Room IX, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-02-07 Created: 2020-01-09 Last updated: 2020-02-07
List of papers
1. Unge migranter skaper steder: Translokale og lokale praksiser i rurale områder i Norge og Sverige
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Unge migranter skaper steder: Translokale og lokale praksiser i rurale områder i Norge og Sverige
2015 (Norwegian)In: Med sans for sted: Nyere teorier / [ed] Marit Aure, Nina Gunnerud Berg, Jørn Cruickshank, Britt Dale, Bergen: Fagbokforlaget, 2015, 1, p. 213-229Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bergen: Fagbokforlaget, 2015 Edition: 1
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-270383 (URN)978-82-450-1777-9 (ISBN)
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas
Available from: 2015-12-28 Created: 2015-12-28 Last updated: 2020-01-30Bibliographically approved
2. Mangelfullt mangfoldsperspektiv?: (Re)produksjonen av kategoriene “utlending” og“norsk” i skolen
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mangelfullt mangfoldsperspektiv?: (Re)produksjonen av kategoriene “utlending” og“norsk” i skolen
(Norwegian)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [no]

Artikkelen undersøker hvorfor minoritetsungdom beskriver seg selv som utlendinger i den norske skolen, og spør hvordan skolen som institusjon bidrar til (re)produksjonen av kategoriene «utlending» og «norsk». Undersøkelsen tar utgangspunkt i et feltarbeid der jeg har fulgt og intervjuet ungdom med flyktningbakgrunn og deres lærere i ulike former for språkklasser. Teoretisk bygger artikkelen videre på den akademiske diskusjonen om «norskhet», men hevder at det romlige perspektivet bør tillegges større betydning. Jeg trekker på Sara Ahmeds teoretisering av hvithet  når jeg undersøker hvilken betydning hvithetsnormen har for skolen som institusjon og hvordan ungdommene navigerer innenfor denne. I artikkelen argumenterer jeg for at kategorien «utlending» blir til gjennom en rasialiseringsprosess der rom, hudfarge og språk er sentrale komponenter som forsterkes i skolen.

Keywords
nyankomne elever, norskhet, rasialisering, hvithet, mangfold
National Category
Social and Economic Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography; Health Care Research; Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-401827 (URN)
Available from: 2020-01-09 Created: 2020-01-09 Last updated: 2020-01-27Bibliographically approved
3. Everyday politics of belonging: The ambivalent experience of being young, female and Muslim in rural Norway.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Everyday politics of belonging: The ambivalent experience of being young, female and Muslim in rural Norway.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Here, I explore young female Muslims’ (age 13–17 years) everyday negotiations and practices of belonging in Norwegian towns. The analysis draws on Nira Yuval-Davis’ writing on belonging and the politics of belonging, and illustrates how discourses of belonging/non-belonging to the nation come into play in social encounters. The analysis is presented through three individual stories using an intersectional lens, including a time–space dimension, deconstructing the category ‘Muslim girl’. The stories provide insights into young women’s experiences and challenges regarding the contemporary politics of belonging in Northern Europe, highlighting their strategies for negotiating and creating belonging, including the role space plays in these strategies.

Keywords
belonging, gender, place, intersectionality, everyday racism, negative social control
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-401831 (URN)
Available from: 2020-01-09 Created: 2020-01-09 Last updated: 2020-01-27Bibliographically approved
4. “Doing belonging”: Young former refugees and their active engagement with Norwegian local communities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>“Doing belonging”: Young former refugees and their active engagement with Norwegian local communities
2020 (English)In: Fennia, E-ISSN 1798-5617, Vol. 198, no 1-2, p. 39-56Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores the everyday lives of young former refugees in small Norwegian towns and considers how a focus on “doing belonging” can help us understand the processes of place attachment and social inclusion/exclusion in a time of increasing diversity and social division. By looking at these youths’ everyday activities and social networks using a range of participatory methods, this article describes how former refugee youths actively work to create and maintain a sense of belonging. The study shows that the youths simultaneously draw on shared knowledge from their social networks and on embodied knowledge gained through the habitual use of place to perform belonging. It is argued that embodiment, as in being a particular type of body interacting with people and place, matters; other crucial aspects are freedom to move and experience the materiality of place, and that former refugees’ belonging needs to be understood as relating to other people’s understandings of their right to belong. The study shows that particular structural conditions for doing belonging should be considered by policy makers.

Keywords
Belonging, place attachment, embodied politics, activity diaries, auto-photography, refugee youth
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-401835 (URN)10.11143/fennia.83695 (DOI)000596505400011 ()
Available from: 2020-01-09 Created: 2020-01-09 Last updated: 2021-08-27Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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More styles
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  • de-DE
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  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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  • text
  • asciidoc
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