Dissertation defence (Human Geography): MA Camilla Marucco Al-Mimar


7.6.2024 at 12.00 - 16.00
MA Camilla Marucco Al-Mimar defends the dissertation in Human Geography titled ”Life before the passport: People with a refugee background navigating everyday life, temporalities and subjectivities between refugeehood and citizenship” at the University of Turku on 07 June 2024 at 12.00 (University of Turku, Publicum, Pub2 Lecture Hall, Assistentinkatu 7, Turku).

The audience can participate in the defence by remote access: https://utu.zoom.us/j/62691699521 (Meeting ID: 626 9169 9521, passcode: 302501).

Opponent: Adjunct Professor Anna-Kaisa Kuusisto (Tampere University)
Custos: Professor Jussi Jauhiainen (University of Turku)

Doctoral Dissertation at UTUPub: https://www.utupub.fi/handle/10024/177252


Summary of the Doctoral Dissertation:

How do people with a refugee background live their everyday lives? What are their experiences of time linked with refugeehood and citizenship? What do their experiences imply for researchers?

During my doctoral research, I have talked to and spent time with many people arrived from Somalia and Iraq to Finland through unprivileged migration routes. For many of them, a key priority was to get a residence permit and citizenship from Finland. However, their lives are much more than what legal documents may tell about them: they would work or seek jobs, study and attend trainings, live family lives and care for their dear ones across borders. Also, while securing a permit or citizenship in Finland was essential for many research participants, this would not spare them from racism.

Some may think that citizenship belongs only to a remote future for people with a refugee background. Many imagine integration as a linear process through which migrants should learn Finnish and become employed, independent individuals. However, people with a refugee background “do” and live their citizenship every day regardless of their legal status by pursuing their various priorities. Their experiences suggest that integration is a path with stalemates, accelerations and drawbacks, bringing together many people, their knowledge and practices of care.

By conducting research and activism about asylum, permits and deportability, I have learned that the Finnish state tends to segregate and “dissect” the lives and identities of people navigating asylum and permits, as if they could be only one thing at a time – refugees, rejected asylum seekers, workers, students or family members. My work joins collective efforts to affirm the humanity of these people and the complexity of their lives. Thus, I invite researchers to re-centre our humanity in academic work, to become aware of the ethical and practical implications of our research and to act collectively for more just and humane migration policies.
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