New Neighbours in a Time of Change: Local Pragmatics and the Perception of Asylum Centres in Rural Denmark

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Asylum centres in rural areas are an increasingly common mode of managing asylum seekers in Denmark. These centres’ arrival occurs in a context of protracted rural crisis, as demographic and economic changes reshape local communities. Yet research on these processes remains scarce, issues concerning asylum and the rural being seldom conceived together. At the same time, majority population attitudes towards refugees are often depicted through the opposed poles of xenophobia and humanitarianism. Based on ethnographic research, this article examines the meanings and consequences of asylum centres for rural Danish communities. Drawing on anthropological theory on the mutuality of social life we argue that asylum centres become embedded in pre-existing relations within local communities and between them and the centralising Danish welfare state. Local communities sometimes were initially sceptical about asylum centres, but they generally developed a collective, pragmatic approach towards them in contrast to the divided, ideological cast of national debates on asylum. By shifting focus from the national to the local, from the urban to the rural, and from the migrants to the neighbouring communities, a less polarizing and more everyday mode of relating to the arrival of asylum seekers becomes visible. 50 free online prints available, follow this link: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/SX6tVpHfbsD93gcd7dak/full
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Volume45
Issue11
Pages (from-to)1953-1969
ISSN1369-183X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

50 free online copies - follow this link: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/SX6TVPHFBSD93GCD7DAK/full?target=10.1080/1369183X.2018.1482741

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