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Refugee’s agency and coping strategies in refugee camps during the coronavirus pandemic: ethnographic perspectives

  • The global spread of the coronavirus pandemic has particularly dramatic consequences for the lives of migrants and refugees living in already marginalised and restricted conditions, whose ongoing crisis is at risk of being overlooked. But refugees are not only extremely vulnerable and at risk of infection, as several reports show, quickly develop their own protection measures like the production of hygienic products, the publication of their situation and calls for action and help. Therefore, this paper aims to research the effects of the coronavirus crisis on refugees in camp settings with a special ethnographic focus on how refugees actively deal with this crisis and if they, through already developed resilience, are capable of adapting to the restrictions as well as inventing strategies to cope with the difficult situation. To account for the variety of refugee camps as well as the different living conditions due to their locality, history and national asylum politics, we will look at three different locations, namely refugee asylum homes in Germany, hotspots on the Greek islands as well as one refugee camp in Kenya. The main questions will be how, under structurally and institutionally framed conditions of power and victimisation in refugee camps, forms of agency are established, made possible or limited. The goal is to show which strategies refugees apply to cope with the enhanced restrictions and exclusion, how they act to protect themselves and others from the virus and how they present and reflect their situation during the coronavirus pandemic. Finally, this discussion offers a new perspective to consider refugees not only as vulnerable victims, but also as actively engaged individuals.

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Author:Claudia Böhme, Anett Schmitz
Parent Title (English):Comparative Migration Studies
Publisher:Springer Nature
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Date of completion:2022/08/25
Date of publication:2022/08/25
Publishing institution:Universität Trier
Contributing corporation:The publication was funded by the Open Access Fund of Universität Trier and the German Research Foundation (DFG)
Release Date:2023/05/12
Tag:Agency; Coping strategies; Covid-19; Germany; Kakuma; Kenya; Lesvos; Moria; Refugee camps; Social Media
GND Keyword:Anpassung; Asylbewerberunterkunft; COVID-19; Deutschland; Griechenland; Kenia; Pandemie
Volume (for the year ...):2022
Issue / no.:Band 10 (2022)
Number of pages:20
Institutes:Fachbereich 4 / Soziologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 30 Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie / 300 Sozialwissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY: Creative-Commons-Lizenz 4.0 International

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