Place attachment in refugee resettlement: processes, politics, and outcomes

Session convened by: Sara Kindon, Polly Stupples & Amber Kale (Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand)

An important part of refugee resettlement is the development of new emotional and social attachments to places of settlement. Processes of place-attachment may involve familiarising oneself with new sights and sounds, making connections between old and new homes, imagining a future in a certain locale, investing time and energy in building and maintaining places and relationships, and negotiating diverse identities (Lewicka, 2011; Scannell & Gifford, 2010; Tuan, 1977). These activities, and other ongoing social interactions, can construct and change local landscapes and challenge long-time residents’ sense of place-attachment (Law, 2001; Massey 2005). Thus, like former refugees, host society members may face challenges to maintain a sense of self and belonging in changing sociospatial and political landscapes. To encourage a sense of homeliness for diverse individuals, there is a need for multicultural communities to co-construct inclusive spaces and shared facets of identity that connect people whilst maintaining diversity and the uniqueness of place (Putnam, 2007).

We invite presentations that critically engage with theories of place attachment and contested spaces in the field of refugee resettlement. Themes may include, but are not limited to:

  • Sensory and emotional processes of place-attachment
  • The role of memory, identity, and / or agency in place-attachment
  • Multiscalar place-attachment (attachment to home, neighbourhood, city, nation, etc.)
  • The temporalities of place-attachment (is residence time or familiarity a reliable indicator of attachment?)
  • How social diversity / homogeneity impacts feelings of place-attachment
  • How the representation of place includes or excludes different groups
  • How intersections of race, gender, sexuality, class, age, and ability shape experiences of place-attachment
  • How people maintain attachments to, re-enact, or recreate places whilst living remotely
  • The co-construction of place between different groups or individuals
  • How participatory research practices can contribute to the co-construction of place
  • The benefits and challenges of place attachment for refugee resettlement

Instructions for authors:

We welcome a range of formats: papers, performance, discussion.

Please send your proposed paper/intervention title and an abstract (no more than 250 words) to Sara Kindon by 5pm February 10 2018. These should include title, author affiliation and email address, and any special AV or access requirements.

Call for papers deadline: 10th Feb 2018

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