Only looking forward?

By Maaike van Nus       “My initial expectation before meeting them was that they would be more, ehm, that they wouldn’t be as assimilated as they are, I mean it’s a good thing that they are, but it seems they all have cell phones, and they all have grown fairly accustomed to the life here” This was told to me in an interview with one of my informants about the North Korean refugees he’d just met. For my master in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the VU I conducted three months of fieldwork in Seoul, South Korea. I worked …

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No space for grief

By Aniek Santema       The floor in Ouzai where Mariam lives becomes a familiar place. I know the people in this corner of the tall building and they greet me happily when I visit them. Today, the stairs that lead up to this floor are slippery and covered with garbage like empty bags of chips, chocolate wraps and orange peels. While climbing up the stairs to the third floor, I pass by some small kids with stains on their clothes, faces and hands, running and playing on the stairs. The youngest must be around 2 years old. Many of …

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The Political Agency of Refugees

By Matea Curcovic Westendorp        Dr. Cindy Horst is an anthropologist located in Oslo, Norway where she works as a senior researcher at the research institute PRIO. Her main focus for the past 20 years has been on refugees – from spending two years in a refugee camp in Kenya researching Somali refugees, to more recently collecting life stories from refugees residing in Oslo.

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“I was nowhere”

By Marie Linne    Dalal contacted me during my fieldwork among refugees who aspire to study in the Netherlands. She agreed to meet with me for an interview, to talk about her experiences as a refugee and as a student in the VASVU programme at VU University Amsterdam. It is a 9 month long programme, that tries to function as a bridging programme for international students before they enter a Dutch Bachelors programme. About 80 percent of the students are refugees, and the course provides them with the basics in different subjects. It is mostly set up with the aim to …

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A refugee camp in the Netherlands as a public sphere

By Nynke van Dijck     Some weeks ago there was a big storm in the Netherlands. ‘Code Orange’ was issued to tell people to be careful while going on the road or making use of public transport. In the south of the Netherlands, in a city called Nijmegen, a new refugee camp was built which was supposed to host around 800 people from countries like Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea. When the weather got worse, the tents in the camp were shaking, water was leaking through the roof and a loud alarm was going off the whole night. No one in …

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Keulen: een urban legend?

Door Peter Versteeg      Het nieuwe jaar was nog tamelijk vers toen verontrustend nieuws bekend werd. Met oudejaarsnacht zouden vele tientallen vrouwen op het Keulse stationsplein zijn beroofd en aangerand. Het aantal aangiften van aanranding is boven de 500 gestegen, waaronder twee maal verkrachting. Verschillende keren stond ik op het punt om hier iets over te schrijven, maar ik werd steeds weerhouden door de gevoeligheid rond het onderwerp.

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Fortress Europe continues to treat migrants as criminals

By Dimitris Dalakoglou             The European Union, one of the strongest economies in the world and home to some of the most advanced state apparatuses in human history, is preparing to shut down its borders, one after the other, because it can’t cope with the number of refugees arriving from war in the Middle East. These same institutions were of course able to find the resources to finance an expensive military operation on the European sea borders against the same refugees.

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Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán’s xenophobia rejects the country’s multi-ethnic history

By Pál Nyíri    My son and I have come to see the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble’s show An Evocation of Subcarpathia. According to the introduction to the venerable troupe’s new show, it wants to showcase the multicultural musical and dance heritage of the Western Ukrainian region that formerly belonged to Czechoslovakia and, before then, Hungary, and had a mixed population that included Ruthenians, Slovaks, Hungarians, Romanians, Jews, Gypsies, and Hutsuls. That heritage – juxtaposed rather than hierarchically arranged, the text emphasises – is displayed in the folk dresses of the performers and the languages they sing in (including, counterfactually, Hebrew). …

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