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Refuge and Belonging

Year Group 2021/22

This theme group brings together scholars from a variety of (sub)disciplines: science & technology studies (Bernike Pasveer), migration studies (Paolo Boccagni), anthropology (Naluwembe Binaisa) and sociology (Jan Willem Duyvendak, NIAS), to explore the search for refuge.

About the Project

Many people are moving and made to move away from places and situations that somehow mismatch with their survival. They flee from violence or poverty (or both) and in search of survival, they migrate to new continents and countries in search for a different life, they move from home to institution in search of proper care. And, quite basically, to find/make something to call home, to belong to all over again. But regardless of what motivates the search for home and belonging, its spatial and temporal modalities, and the agents involved, migrations do not necessarily produce home and belonging. In an increasingly hostile climate – in all possible senses of the term – the search for home and belonging elsewhere or in other ways is highly contested, wrought with (often politically sanctioned/mediated) inequalities, privileges and invisibilities. And so when refuge is found/made, it tends to be always partial, temporal and fragile.

This project wants to investigate these searches for refuge. Why and how do people move? What and whom do they take along and leave behind? What do/can they feed on? How does survival work? How are migrations conditioned upon but also infusing ‘environmental’ hostilities and affects? Who and what cares for them? What generates inclusion, exclusion, belonging?