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Sarah-Louise Japhetson Mortensen

“Everything collapses again” – Syrian refugees’ shifting orientations and new beginnings under the recent revocation of residence permits in Denmark

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Since January 2021, the Danish Immigration Service has revoked the residence permits of hundreds of Syrian refugees coming from the Damascus area. The revocations risk separating family members with different refugee statuses by rejecting the prolongation of residency of those with a temporary residence permit (§7,3). However, while their cases are appealed to the Refugee Appeals Board and they wait for a final decision, the families can continue their everyday activities of building a life in Denmark. The situation has created a sense of panic and increased temporariness among Syrian refugees in general: Who is next? What to do? And when will we know? During my ongoing fieldwork among Syrian refugee families in Denmark, Jamal, a young Syrian man, exhaustedly exclaimed: “everything collapses again!”.

In the light of this “collapse”, the paper explores Syrian refugees’ contradictory experiences of continuously building their lives in Denmark while planning new beginnings elsewhere. Furthermore, it unfolds the temporality of beginnings and the sense of self, when it seems to become a part of one’s life trajectory to begin again.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2022
Publication statusUnpublished - 2022
EventMega Seminar: To begin again - Sandbjerg Gods, Sønderborg, Denmark
Duration: 23 Aug 202125 Aug 2021


ConferenceMega Seminar
LocationSandbjerg Gods

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