Imagining and experiencing the 'refugee crisis' (IMEX)


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A collective sigh of relief

Bygnes with a new publication in Acta Sociologica: "A collective sigh of relief: Local reactions to the establishment of new asylum centers in Norway".

Picture of Susanne Bygnes
Eivind Senneset for the University of Bergen


This recent article from Acta Sociologica studies experiences in the aftermath of the 2015 "refugee crisis", showing that . The article can be found online at Acta Sociologica.


This article investigates a mood change in local communities where new asylum seeker facilities were established in the wake of the “refugee crisis” in 2015. Whereas opinions in flux are often studied using quantitative data, this analysis takes advantage of in-depth qualitative interviews with inhabitants in selected Norwegian local communities after new temporary asylum reception centers were established. Qualitative data collected at this particular time provide the opportunity to gain insight into social processes occurring in the wake of a sudden influx of immigrants. A key feature of the material is statements reflecting fear or nervous anticipation in relation to the period before the newcomers arrived, followed by descriptions of diminishing concern afterwards. Several studies have engaged with the issue of changes in public mood during this particular period, but few have analyzed changes at the local level. The study concludes that while the backdrop of impactful events that led to shifts in public mood at the national and regional levels played a role in informants’ imagined encounters with the newcomers, experiencing the presence of the newcomers resulted in a subtle mood change of increased acceptance.