Icke-medborgarskapets urbana geografi
Sammanfattning: The object of investigation in this dissertation is the living conditions of refused asylum seekers in Sweden. More specifically, it is an ethnographic study of how a group of people organize their lives in Gothenburg under the threat of deportation. In Sweden these people are often referred to as “hidden refugees”, “without papers” or “illegal immigrants”, but since this study analyzes these terms the informants are described as deportables. The research questions evolve around both what constitutes the Swedish non-citizenship and what characterizes the urban environment. As many other post-industrial cities, Gothenburg is today working within the logic of what David Harvey refers to as entrepreneurialism, which means competing with other cities to “get on the map” and attract capital, tourists and events. This study discusses how deportables can make room for themselves in “the city of events” and “the city of knowledge”. Today we see a distinct conflict of interest in Gothenburg. At the same time as many non-citizens come here, the local authorities work hard to reduce this “inflow”. Consequently, this study focuses on how matters concerning how the welfare state ought to deal with the presence of non-citizens come to a head in cities. It argues that one consequence of what Gøsta Esping-Andersen characterizes as the social democratic welfare regime is that deportables are more obviously excluded in Sweden than in other European countries. Creating parallel systems where these people are given some welfare goes against the fundamental principle of providing a high degree of welfare to everyone. Such politics are hard to live by on the local level though. For instance, Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg has created routines for registering people without a Swedish personal number. In Sweden the most common way of naming rejected asylum seekers is “hidden refugees”, an expression that envisions these people living “underground” and “outside of society”. However, the informants’ everyday life turned out to revolve around learning to navigate in the urban geography and to create a life in the intersection between national regulations and the opportunities that the city, after all, has to offer. Drawing on Les Back’s notion of sociological listening this study aims at formulating a place-sensitive sociology, by, firstly, supplementing traditional methods such as participant observations and interviews with walk-alongs and “mental” maps, and, secondly, combining discourse analytical and symbolic interactionist perspectives.
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