Institute of Social Anthropology

Research projects

Violent Safe Havens? Exploring Articulations and Repercussions of Violence in Refugee Reception and Settlement

SNF Ambizione Projekt

Violent Safe Havens? Exploring Articulations and Repercussions of Violence in Refugee Reception and Settlement

This project explores articulations of violence, which continue to affect refugees even after they were granted legal protection. Focusing on refugee reception and settlement it investigates how and with what effects different actors perceive and are involved in articulations of violence, including refugees themselves, state authorities and representatives of civic support structures. In particular, the project seeks to uncover how different forms of violence are interlinked and how refugees exercise agency by acting upon experienced violence. Adopting an intersectional perspective this research explores how social constructions of gender, race and class shape articulations of violence and their repercussions on the persons concerned. 

Empirically, the project is based on multi-sited ethnographies among settling refugees in Norway and Switzerland. Both countries represent interesting but little explored contexts of refugee reception and settlement. They are known for their wealth and high levels of life satisfaction, which sets them apart from many other European countries, besides their non-membership in the EU. However, they are also marked by right wing populism, instances of xenophobia and increasingly restrictive asylum regimes. Systems of refugee incorporation are rooted in different welfare state traditions. These similarities and differences are important features of contexts in which articulations and experiences of violence among settling refugees are embedded.

Based on evidence from the field, the project establishes to what extent, in what ways and with what effects refugees remain exposed to violence while settling at their destination. It therefore not only advances scientific engagements with refugee experiences beyond the asylum process, but also yields insights that could inform practices and policies of revisiting modes and implications of refugee reception and settlement in Europe.


Project leader: Dr. Carolin Fischer

Scientific collaborator: Manuel Insberg

Duration: 01.02.2020 – 31.07.2024