This new HOMInG working paper aims to reconceptualize the debate on the lived experience of accommodation for asylum seekers, as a matter of home and homemaking. Several studies have recently emphasized the influence of housing quality on the ways in which asylum reception centres are experienced, and possibly re-adapted, by the residents. Reception facilities can indeed facilitate the cultivation of some sense of home, at least intermittently, primarily as a grassroots and spontaneous process. However this effort is not without contradictions, including that of being in tension with asylum seekers’ legal and existential precarity. Moreover, feeling at home in an alien context would require also gaining recognition, rights and the ability to navigate through the public sphere. The home-evoking potential of housing infrastructures and affordances is closely interdependent with the capability of people-as-dwellers to make the most out of them. Enhancing clients’ ability to reproduce a sense of home on the move and attach it to specific places matters as, or more than, the abstract and disembodied home-like features of any built environment.
P. BOCCAGNI: AT HOME IN THE CENTRE? SPATIAL APPROPRIATION AND HORIZONS OF HOMEMAKING IN RECEPTION FACILITIES FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS (HOMING WP 10_2020)