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Learn more about the LSE research project Resilient Communities, Resilient Cities? Digital makings of the city of refuge undertaken in Athens, Berlin and London during 2018 and 2019.

The following are resources and articles that have been published as part of the project: Resilient Communities, Resilient Cities? Digital makings of the city of refuge. Links are provided to freely accessible versions (open access) where available. If you are unable to access an article please contact us.

City of Refuge Toolkit (2019)
Lane, Giles; Myria Georgiou; Deena Dajani; Kristina Kolbe; and Vivi Theodoropoulou

This is a co-creative and participatory toolkit of relevance to researchers, civil society and institutions working with newcomers, migrants, refugees and those supporting them (citizen actors and organisations). The City of Refuge Toolkit aims to explore the needs these actors have: such as the resources they need, and the obstacles they face when they try to build inclusive, safe and equitable local and national communities and spaces. The toolkit brings people together to discuss and share their experiences, to build connections and find common ground. It asks participants to identify what an ideal City of Refuge would need to be a reality (the ‘ideal’ city of refuge could be adopted from neighbourhood-level to national level). Available in four languages – Arabic, English, German and Greek.

City of Refuge or Digital Order? Refugee Recognition and the Digital Governmentality of Migration in the City (2019)
Georgiou, Myria
Television & New Media

This article analyses the digital governmentality of the city of refuge. It shows how digital infrastructures support refugees’ new life in the European city, while also normalizing the conditionality of their recognition as humans and as citizens-in-the-making. Research in Athens, Berlin, and London revealed the city as a vital but fierce space for refugees to claim, and sometimes find recognition that the nation often denies. A multimethod qualitative study with refugees and civil society actors at the aftermath of Europe’s “migration crisis” recorded urban cultures of hope for cities that are hospitable and open. Yet, it also recorded conditional welcoming that sets strict requirements for newcomers’ recognition as more than a category of external Others that need to prove their “right to have rights.” As shown, a digital order requires a performed refugeeness as precondition for recognition: that is, a swift move from abject vulnerability to resilient individualism.

Refuge under austerity: the UK’s refugee settlement schemes and the multiplying practices of bordering

Dajani, Deena
Ethnic and Racial Studies

This paper draws on two current UK refugee resettlement schemes, the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and Community Sponsorship, to consider the ways in which they borrow technologies from austerity and innovate “border-work”. On the global level, the paper considers how VPRS outsources the UK’s border management to UNHCR. On the national level, the paper considers how Community Sponsorship shifts the responsibility for the support of refugees from the state to local communities. Finally, on the local level, the paper discusses how the borrowed technologies between austerity and migration control (outsourcing, categorising, and individualizing responsibility) shape the experiences of social workers and migrants in a northern London borough. The paper contributes to understanding how the governmentalities of austerity and migration engage in shaping and re-shaping public space through the differential regulation of subjects who come to experience shared space in fundamentally different ways.

Suspension: disabling the
city of refuge
? (2020)

Georgiou, Myria; Suzanne Hall; and Deena Dajani
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

This article focuses on suspension: a process and a politics in migration governance that disables subjects and destabilises the state. Drawing on migrant, civic actor and policy-maker insights and experiences in the cities of Athens, Berlin and London, the discussion reveals how suspension is operationalised and enacted. As recorded across three cities, suspension has become a way to govern migration as an unequal and racialised system by obscuring, prolonging and deferring state responsibilities and migrants’ access to resources and rights. By focusing on who is most likely to be suspended, and how the urban convenes both everyday bordering and new solidarities, we aim to understand the politics of migration in a volatile political and economic conjuncture. Invoking the city of refuge as an actually existing but fragile ethico-political project, we critically reflect on the currency of urban politics of sanctuary cities as redemptive spaces detached from the punitive functioning of the state. We explore how suspension is operationalised in the city through three core processes: the fracturing of legalities; the devolution of care; and the spatialising of uncertainty. We further reflect on the precarious practices care and solidarity which engage our shared humanity as opposed to enforced differences.