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Existens och temporalitet: om det samtida flyktingskapets komplexitet
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2000 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Existence and temporality : the complexity of contemporary refugee status (English)
Abstract [en]

In the beginning of the 1990's Swedish immigration policy, which bad been considered liberal and generous, became increasingly restrictive. A number of domestic as well as international factors led to new restrictions that particularly affected Bosnians with Croatian passports who applied for asylum. They were the first refugee group subject to new policy regulations and practices called 'temporary protection' (TUT). They also became the object of experimentation with diverse ideas concerning the development of a new immigration policy that emphasized the notion of 'repatriation' as opposed to 'integration'. This study consists of five articles that analyse these complex social processes from different methodological angles, trying to connect micro issues with macro ones, global issues with national issues, and local phenomena with practices affecting the individual. The introductory article deals with the experience of leaving one's country though the narrative of a single woman. During her period of immigration, she had been exposed to different national interests, discriminatory legislation and a variety of refugee experiences. These experiences included persecution, flight and emigration that were related to conditions of immigration, refuge and exclusion. The second article shows how the refugees coped with the labyrinth of temporality caused by the new Swedish refugee and immigration policy. This policy had been developed against the backdrop of EU harmonisation and insisted on temporary protection and repatriation. The third article is a comparative analysis of immigration processes in two different munici­palities: Malmö and Karlskrona. This article shows that such different institutional contexts create different coping strategies among refugees. For example, Malmö as a large munici­pality with a long history of immigration is different from Karlskrona, which is a smaller town without such experiences with foreigners. Also, in Malmö there was no specific refugee camp whereas there was one in Karlskrona. The fourth article deals with the impact of the Swedish welfare state's austerity policy on the reception of local refugees. As a consequence of these changes, special relationships among refugees developed. These included both friendship and animosity as well as conflict and solidarity. Such relationships challenge the conventional wisdom that assumes that differences in ethnicity will only lead to conflicts among different groups. The fifth article examines the limits of this conventional wisdom. For example, while conflicts among different ethnic groups from the former Yugoslavia persist, solidarity among these groups has also developed as they respond to the difficulties of immigration and social exclusion. In order to analyse the complexity of a process that includes the global, local and individual levels, I developed a multifaceted theoretical approach. This thesis addresses four aspects of a refugee's status: essentialization, thera- peutization, 'problem' that refugees cause for international state system and exclusion. In this connection, my main conclusion is that the social position of being a refugee in particular, as well as processes of social inclusion in general, can only be understood if we move beyond essential and biological explanations and beyond culturalization and therapeutization. Instead, we must focus on social and structural explanations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2000. , 233 p.
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508 ; 19
Keyword [en]
refugees, refugee policies, ethnic relations, ethnic conflicts, repatriation, immigration and welfare state, social exclusion, integration, citizenship
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-65808OAI: diva2:610538
Available from: 2013-03-12 Created: 2013-02-12 Last updated: 2014-01-31Bibliographically approved

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