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Session Chair: Kenneth Horvath, University of Lucerne
Location:BS.3.23 Manchester Metropolitan University
Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium
Spatial Practices and Belonging in New Arrival Cities.
Anna Marie Steigemann
TU Berlin, Germany
Combining research methods from architectural and social sciences and combining the two into new hybrid methods that also include refugees stronger into the research and knowledge production process, the paper investigates physical, material, social, and symbolic appropriation processes by Syrian refugees currently housed in urban humanitarian settings in Jordan and Germany. We ask: What spatial knowledge is mobilized at the arrival cities? How does this knowledge hybrizide practices of the place of origin, experiences made during the escape, as well as during and after the arriving and uncertain period of stay at an unfamiliar place of asylum? How do spatial appropriation processes collide with humanitarian logics and technocratic emergency management approaches at the place of asylum?
We argue that arriving refugees mobilize “urban knowledge” at the place of asylum which can only be understood as a spatial and urban re-figuration process, which is equally at work in the case of other migrants, migration and translocal processes. In particular, our paper looks at the ways in which refugees perceive, adapt to, appropriate, and alter their new urban environments physically and socially and of how they thereby draw on existing and evolving stocks of urban and spatial knowledge, urban experiences, and relationships in so-called emergency accommodations in Berlin and the more urbanized refugee camp Zaatari in Jordan.
Finally, our paper tries to explain how migration transforms urban space physically and socially and how planning and the social and technical infrastructures affect migrants’ mobility – socially and spatially.
Policing Undocumented Immigrants Through Spatial Practices
Tel Aviv University, Israel
South Tel Aviv is a space of controversy. In the past two decades, it has become the home to various immigrant groups living in Israel. In recent years, the settlement of asylum seekers and refugees has raised tensions between local Israeli residents; some demand their deportation while others protest against it. The groups are in dispute over ethical and moral values, holding contesting visions and claims over this space. In this reality of heated conflict and inconsistent government policy towards immigrants, one formal actor is constantly “in the field”; State police alongside municipal police are responsible for maintaining public order and enhancing security and control in the mixed neighborhoods. However, due to erratic and ambiguous government policy regarding refugees and asylum seekers, police officers experience inadequacy. Policing an undocumented society of immigrants makes administrative tools such as reports, fines and even arrests, ineffective. This situation led to a spatial turn in policing: Foot patrol, hyper-surveillance, situational crime prevention are spatial practices aimed to 'restore governance'. However, the performance of strong governance in the urban sphere collides with the lack of policy in the national level. Police are under criticism from the right for being 'too weak on immigrants' and from the left for militarizing urban space. Based on ethnographic work, interviews with police officers, residents and NGO's, this paper presents the complexity of policing urban immigrant areas in a time of policy crisis and moral dispute. This site of inquiry juxtaposes the national and the urban, the political and the spatial.
Who Belongs Where? Research Around The Selection Process During The Placement Of Refugees By Screen-level Bureaucrats
Angelique van Dam
Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands, The
Successful resettlement requires a safe place for refugees. Besides preferences of refugees of certain spaces and available facilities, municipalities are also interested in a successful match of refugees and space; so much that they prefer certain categories of refugees over others. Families and highly educated refugees are at the top of this hierarchy. This research focusses on the selection process and understandings of a ‘right fit’ of person and space during the matching of refugees and space within the Netherlands.
Bureaucrats that are trusted with the task of selection and matching do this without getting into personal contact with the person that they decide for. They operate behind a screen basing their judgement on limited information. Therefore, we call them screen-level bureaucrats. Building on the work of Lipsky (1980) this study will show that screen- level bureaucrats use their policy discretion in almost all their cases. Moreover, it will show that stereotyping lies at the basis of the very elaborate stories about persons and places where screen-level bureaucrats rely their judgements on (e.g. ideas on where gay, families and high or low skilled newcomers belong).
Through extended interviews (46) and observations (34) over a one-year period on a national, regional and local level (city of Rotterdam), this study sheds light on the practices of screen-level bureaucrats and the construction of belonging in the first phase of refugee resettlement in the Netherlands. This study emphasizes the complexity of interaction in digital space: even without physical contact, images are constructed that have consequences for the distribution of rights and facilities where social categorisation, stereotyping and principles of deservingness play a very important role.
Rescaling Borders In The City
Contemporary transformations of the border have entered central stage in many debates on migration. Externalization, digitalization, the involvement of multiple institutional, private and civil society actors as well as citizens in the control of borders and the management of cross-border movements are subjects of a growing research field. Far less recognized is the growing relevance of the urban scale and the city in recent border transformations. In the city a variety of local actors, administration, welfare organization, and private actors are involved in exercising local control and thus in the organization of social but also territorial exclusion and inclusion.
Scholars in urban studies for their turn have pointed to contemporary transformations that concern the institutional and geographical re-organization of the urban scale, its relationship with other scales, in particular national, the interconnection of horizontal and interscalar networks and the emerging importance of urban governance. This is premised on an understanding of the urban as produced and subject to multiscalar dynamics.
The question that this contributions thus adresses is how urban border transformations and the emergence of urban border space can be understood from an approach to scaling. To this end theoretically the contribution brings together migration research, border studies and urban studies in order to shed light on the ongoing transformations and spatial re-organization of the border. In empirical terms, I use results from a German city case study to show the relevance of this perspective for an understanding of the production of border spaces at the urban scale and the question how the border figures in contemporary rescaling.