HOMInG’s Paolo Boccagni and Daniela Giudici (HOASI, Univ. of Trento) have just published a study of domestic hospitality for refugees in Italy, approached through a multiscalar understanding of home. The article is available as online first in Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power.
Paolo Boccagni & Daniela Giudici (2021) Entering into domestic hospitality for refugees: a critical inquiry through a multi-scalar view of home, Identities, DOI: 10.1080/1070289X.2021.1909359
Grassroots refugee hospitality is an innovative, if still little investigated field of practices, which illuminates and reshapes the native/immigrant divide. It also sheds light on ‘domestic humanitarianism’, as a range of everyday modes of helping that take place even in the domestic space. Drawing on a case study in Northern Italy, this article develops a framework on the societal implications of refugee hospitality, based on a multi-scalar view of home. From the inside, the lived experience of hospitality involves profound re-definitions of domesticity and meaningful personal changes for hosts and guests alike. From the outside, the connective function of local actors is crucial in shaping the lived experience of domestic reception. From the bottom up, hosting refugees is tantamount to opening, hence questioning, the most intimate threshold of the ‘national we’. Overall, and despite its limitations, domestic hospitality enables refugees to enter ‘home’ on different scales, from the micro-literal to the macro-metaphorical, thereby providing a potential counter-narrative to anti-immigrant discourses, emotions and politics.