Temporary Migrants or New European Citizens? Geographies of Integration and Response between 'Camps' and the City

This research aims to provide an alternative account of the European ‘refugee crisis’.
Project status

The arrival of over 1.5 million refugees since 2015 has stretched EU and individual state capacities; tested formal registration and arrival procedures; and (re-ignited) debates around continental ‘margins’ and geopolitical power differentials between east and west Europe. Contested debates continue on multiple levels regarding the appropriate duties of care, needs and agencies of refugees and providers on the arrival ‘frontlines’. 

This project aims to provide an alternative account of the European ‘refugee crisis’ by focusing on two key aspects:

  • Key European hubs that give rise to multiple ‘urban humanitarian stages’ where fragmented provisions of care are performed and contested amongst a constellation of actors including state, city authorities, formal agencies, and non-traditional humanitarian associations. 

  • The transition between practices of emergency response and the calls for a longer-term integration strategy across institutional and social domains, recognising that refugees seeking asylum are in most cases 'here to stay'.


The research team will draw on post-colonial and post-socialist scholarship and spaces in order to document the invisible or unstated norms that govern:

  • The diverse forms of everyday precarity, waiting and makeshift practices that determine how new migrants make home, work, and place within and with the city.

  • How state rules and norms are negotiated and re-crafted by refugees and non-traditional humanitarian groups.


Principal Investigator: Dr Tatiana Thieme, University College London

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