Between waiting and homing: agency, enablers and barriers for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers' integration

Dr. Raffaella Greco Tonegutti, Belgian Development Agency (Enabel)

Undoubtedly time is a critical, yet uncertain factor in asylum proceedings. This affects the lives of many individuals for which the waiting time in reception centres can get significantly longer than they expected.

By adopting an interdisciplinary approach, we will analyse how the condition of being an “asylum seeker” residing in reception centre influences the attachment to the place where individuals experience the waiting. We will also assess whether this condition has consequences on individuals’ agency and life opportunities. Acknowledging that the legal status is the aggregate of rights and duties recognized to a given person, as a subject of law, in a given community (Kraler, 2006), we will attempt to increase understanding about the role of rights (and the certainty in accessing these rights) in the trajectories of life of individuals seeking asylum in Belgium after 2015. We will specifically focus on the experiences of the space and the processes of making homes in a given reception centre by 20 young males, in the indefinite situation of waiting in which they are forced during their asylum application. The field research (February 2017 to May 2018) that will be presented, focuses on homing processes in a reception centre located in the city centre of Brussels hosting a mixed population of around 270 women and man from a variety of countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Eritrean and Pakistan. Interviews with individuals living in the reception centre (residents) illustrate how they engage with the complex businesses of “feeling home” and time-passing, within varying migration legal labels.

About the speaker

Dr Greco Tonegutti is the migration and development expert at the Belgian Development Agency. She has  a background in Migration Studies, a PhD in Fundamental Rights (University of Pisa, Italy) and a MSc in international Cooperation by the Institute of Advanced Studies (University of Pavia, Italy). In the last 16 years Raffaella served as migration expert at the European Commission, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. She writes on migration and integration issues and has recently published a novel on women on the move in the Mediterranean basin.

Venue: 0.16/0.17

Date: 27 November 2019

Time: 13:00 - 14:00  CET