"Dealing with refugees' past and future expectations in Greek hosting structures"
(Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)
Paper short abstract:
This presentation concerns refugees' experiences, needs, expectations and strategies while temporarily residing in liminal spaces in the city of Thessaloniki in Northern Greece.
Paper long abstract:
Since 2014 hundreds of thousands of people have made their way from Asia to Europe via Greece. Greece has been transformed from a country of emigration to a host country since 1990s, when the first migrants from Eastern European and Balkan countries arrived to Greece. The past few years, people from Middle East, Asia and Africa reached the eastern shores of Greece and were settled in transitory hosting structures (such as camps or apartments). Although refugees are aware or hope that their stay in these places will be temporary, they form interpersonal relationships with camp employees or the local communities and they negotiate their presence there through individual strategies.
Taking into account refugees' multiple and diverse identities with reference to age, gender, ethnicity, legal status, class and religion in this presentation I seek to highlight the integration processes and the inclusion of refugees in the broader Greek social context and provide a more complete understanding of the concept of temporality. This requires taking into account the fluidity of socio-spatial and temporal contexts in which the participants' old and new priorities and expectations are shaped and reshaped. In other words, I intent to bring out how they recall their past, interpret it and how they place themselves in the new reality and what are their conceptualizations and aspirations concerning their life in Greece.
This presentation is grounded in material collected during field research from October 2016 to May 2017 and another from April 2018 that is still in progress.
Stranded in transit. Why people stay, move or settle in a place they wanted to pass through