Imagining and experiencing the 'refugee crisis' (IMEX)


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A Promise of Inclusion: On the Social Imaginary of Organised Encounters between Locals and Refugees

Professor Susanne Bygnes and researcher Mette Strømsø with a new open access publication in Journal of Intercultural Studies. Click here to read the article.

Faksimilie av artikkel i Journal of Intercultural studies, hentet fra: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07256868.2022.2043614


Professor Susanne Bygnes and Researcher Mette Strømsø with a new publication in Journal of Intercultural Studies on the Social Imaginary of Organised Encounters between Locals and Refugees. Click here to read the article.


The present study contributes an empirical analysis that makes explicit a central social imaginary underpinning organised cultural encounters between "locals" and immigrants: that contact between individuals who would not otherwise meet can lead to long-term inclusion if immigrants. While research on why local populations fear og exclude newcomers is important, our study draws on interviews with locals involved in community initiatives in Norway in the wake of the refugee influx in 2015 to enquire into ideas that guide locals practices seeking to include. We find that a "promise of inclusion" forms part of a social imaginary underpinning the organised encounters studied here, featuring ideals of meeting as equals and reciprocity in social relationships while also unveiling how practices of inequality operating within the encounters are common. Emphasising the extent to which it is possible to manage the risk of power inequalities, the study adds to the ongoing academic conversation on organised encounters within the imaginary of the encounter itself. Whereas the research participants are often aware of this paradox, their motivations and approaches are still informed by the social imaginary and guided by the promise of inclusion.