30 September 2014

New project to study the everyday encounter between asylum seekers and local residents in rural Denmark

Birgitte Romme Larsen

Birgitte Romme Larsen

The Danish Council for Independent Research – Humanities (FKK) has granted 2.2 million DKK to Birgitte Romme Larsen and her postdoc project Practicing neighborliness in public space: an ethnographic study of everyday social encounters among asylum seekers and local residents in rural Denmark.

Ethnographic study of encounters

The project is an ethnographic study conducted at the Saxo Institute and Center for Advanced Migration Studies (AMIS) which will investigate everyday practices of neighborliness and sociability among asylum seekers and local inhabitants sharing residential and institutional space in a small Danish rural town, the national historic town of Jelling (3.300 inhabitants).

Us and them
In place of illuminating everyday social workings of ‘us’ and ‘them’ by way of a predefined, discursive duality, the project examines how understandings of  ‘sameness’ and ‘otherness’ are produced and contested in daily life – and the ways in which these transform into everyday ‘relations of proximity and distance’, socially enacted and interacted across lines of cultural background, ethnicity and socio-legal status.

Understanding multiethnic co-residency in rural areas
Empirically, the study advances knowledge of how ‘glocal’ cultural encounters are actually practiced and lived, concurrently analyzed from migrant and native perspectives. Theoretically, the study seeks to promote an understanding of migratory processes and practices of multiethnic co-residency outside of an urban, cosmopolitan context, a highly under-studied area despite its increasing actuality in Denmark as elsewhere.

Read more about the The Danish Council for Independent Research.