Under the preliminary title “Refugees as resources in rural municipalities: a comparative study of integration in Norway”, my project aims to study the process of refugee integration as it is perceived from different perspectives. To do so, I will conduct fieldwork in two regions during 2018, where I will spend time with those working with refugee integration in public services, refugees, local businesses and civil society. The aim of my study is to see in which way immigrants are integrated and integrate themselves into the societies they have been settled in.
The main group of informants in the study is immigrants who have been settled through the government’s Settlement Program, and those working in services related to refugee integration. As such, the project will take the perspective of both service providers and users into account. By doing so, I seek to understand how the services provided is shaped in the intersection between users and providers, and furthermore surface potential drivers and barriers for integration as they are perceived by those on either “side” of the service chain. The project is conducted in the context of public innovation, and will thus have particular emphasis on the processes in which new ideas is formed and implemented, and the ways in which services is formed in the intersection between the users (settled immigrants/refugees) and providers (the municipality).
I finished my master’s degree in social anthropology at the University of Oslo in 2016. In my thesis, I analyzed the intersection of geopolitical borders and social boundaries in the Spanish enclave Melilla, located in northeastern Morocco. Through a 5,5 month fieldwork, I did participant observation among different groups in the city to understand the ways in which they perceived themselves and others, and by doing so located various mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion and the ways in which they were maintained. The fieldwork was conducted in the early half of 2015: the period leading up to what was to the influx of refugees to Europe in 2015-2016. As part of the western Mediterranean route of migration, Melilla housed an increasing number of refugees during my time there, something which influenced my data.
Previously, I also done a two month internship with the Indian NGO Swades Foundation, where I studied the implementation of a computer training program in rural Maharashtra. Additionally, I have worked as a substitute teacher in both elementary schools and in adult education.