Governing displaced migration in Europe : housing and the role of the "local"

Meer, Nasar and Di Maio, Claudio and Hill, Emma and Angeli, Maria and Oberg, Klara and Emilsson, Henrik (2021) Governing displaced migration in Europe : housing and the role of the "local". Comparative Migration Studies, 9 (2). ISSN 2214-594x (

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This article will explore the extent to which a focus on the ‘local’ can tell us something meaningful about recent developments in the governance of displaced migrants and refugees. Taking a multi-sited approach spanning cases in the south and north of Europe, we consider how the challenge of housing and accommodation in particular, a core sector of migrant reception and integration, can shed light on the ways local and city level approaches may negotiate, and sometimes diverge from, national level policy and rhetoric. While it can be said that despite variation, local authorities are by definition ultimately ‘always subordinate’ (Emilsson, Comparative Migration Studies, 3: 1-17, 2015: 4), they can also show evidence of ‘decoupling’ across geographies of policy delivery (Pope and Meyer, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, 3: 280–305, 2016: 290). This article traces how possible local variations in different European cases are patterned by ground-level politics, local strategic networks, and pre-existing economic resources in a manner that is empirically detailed through the study of housing.