Imagining and experiencing the 'refugee crisis' (IMEX)

Local responses to hostility to new asylum seeker centres in Norway

Researcher Mette Strømsø and Professor Susanne Bygnes with an open access publication in International Migration. Click to read the article.

Portrait of women / the author of the publication.
Mette Strømsø
Portrait of woman with blonde hair, striped t shirt and leather jacket.
Eivind Senneset

Main content

Researcher Mette Strømsø and Professor Susanne Bygnes has published this open access article "Local responses to hostility to new asylum seeker centres in Norway" in the journal International Migration. Read the article here. 


This article investigates disagreement over how to respond to the establishment of asylum seeker centres in local communities. Building on interviews with individuals in one rural and one urban community in Norway, we analyse experiences and outcomes of the neighbourhood information meetings organized by the Directorate of Immigration before opening the new centres. We demonstrate that such meetings hold a broader social function, and they become arenas to raise concerns and manage disagreement among neighbours. When anti-immigrant opinions expressed at the meetings are published in the media, community members counter the negative place representations that are not aligned with their own self-identification. We identify three strategies of contestation deployed to counter negative media coverage: foreseeing conflict, claiming exceptionalism and mobilization to volunteer. Broader implications involve immigration authorities’ management of conflict when establishing such centres; their scope should not be limited to host-guest relations but should include horizontal contestation within the community.