Thursday 24 October, 14:15 - 16:00
Migration seminar: Queuing for food and playing lottery for beds: Homeless EU migrants in Norway
Niagara, seminar room, floor 9 (gathering for the seminar at 14.05 at the ground floor next to the Reception in Niagara.)
Turid Misje, PhD, Center of Diaconia and Professional Practice, VID Specialized University, Oslo
Abstract: The migrants focused on in this paper are EU citizens living in Norway for shorter or longer periods of time, who are homeless while in the country and have limited and contested rights to services in the Norwegian public welfare system. Whereas these migrants only a few years back had literally no welfare services available to them, recent years have seen an upsurge in provision of basic services such as healthcare, food, shelters, showers and laundry through various NGOs. The availability is however still very limited, resulting in service providers creating a variety of strategies for restriction of access and queue management. The aim of this paper is to explore how social service provision to homeless EU migrants in Oslo function both and simultaneously to alleviate the migrants’ often precarious situations and structure their everyday lives. Thus, while acknowledging the service providers’ intention of securing fairness in a context where resources are scarce, I suggest that strict opening hours and queue management also serve to control the migrants’ time and movements. A particular aim is to analyse the role played by the social workers who, often ambivalently, are responsible for implementing procedures of order and justice towards migrants queuing for basic services. The empirical material the discussion build on is drawn from ethnographic fieldwork, comprising 11 months of participant observation at several of the social services available to this group of migrants in Oslo and 56 qualitative interviews with migrants (15), social workers (38) and other actors in the field (3).
Short bio: Turid Misje is currently a PhD candidate at Center of Diaconia and Professional Practice, VID Specialized University, Oslo. Her PhD project concerns encounters between migrants who have limited rights in the Norwegian welfare system, and social workers in the social service sector. She is a trained social worker and holds a masters degree in Social Anthropology.