Meeting room 229, Psychologicum (Siltavuorenpenger 1 A, 00170 Helsinki)
Laura Sumari (University of Helsinki): Refugee Narratives of Europe – an Area of Security?
Laura’s PhD project examines how refugees and other ‘protection’ or ‘life seekers’ imagine and experience Europe, especially in terms of security and safety in different stages of the displacement. She seeks to find out how Europe is envisioned and experienced from the outside by those trying to enter, and how refugees and asylum seekers socially and culturally construct Europe as an area of security/insecurity throughout the migratory journey and asylum process.
The research material is gathered by interviewing refugees and asylum seekers in various places and environments: camps and reception centres as well as urban and rural locations before and after reaching Europe. So far, Laura has collected research material in Kenya as well as Cyprus and Southern Italy and the plan is to continue in other locations next autumn and during spring 2020. Laura will also interview refugees and asylum seekers in Finland. The research is ethnographic by orientation and the analysis critically reflects the concepts of Europe and security. The purpose of the study is to offer a ‘refugee’ perspective to European security discussion. Laura wants to bring alternative narratives as a part of the ‘story of Europe’, traditionally told from the inside by people close to power, and challenge the traditional Eurocentric narratives that dominate the public discussion.