What does home mean, and how does it work in the everyday public space, among a refugee minority group in a stigmatized and super-diverse urban environment? As a way to address this question, Aurora Massa and Paolo Boccagni have just published an open access article in the Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, 30(1), 2021. The article stems from HOMInG’s fieldwork among the ethnic Somalis in Rinkeby, a Stockholm suburb, between 2018 and 2019.
The Neighbourhood as Home Away from Home?
Potentials and Dilemmas of Homemaking in the Public Among the Somali Swedes in Rinkeby, Stockholm
By: Aurora Massa and Paolo Boccagni
Home, as a special attachment to (and appropriation over) place, can also be cultivated in the public urban space, under certain conditions that we explore through a case study in Rinkeby, Stockholm. This article analyses various forms of homemaking in the public among the Somali-Swedes who live there. It shows how, in the case of vulnerable immigrants, a neighbourhood feels like home insofar as it facilitates a continuity with their past ways of living, sensuous connections with a shared ‘Somaliness’, reproduction of transnational ties, and protection from the sense of being ‘otherised’ that often creeps among them. However, homemaking in the public is ridden with contradictions and dilemmas, including those of self-segregation. The grassroots negotiation of a sense of home along these lines invites a novel approach into the everyday lived experience of diverse neighbourhoods in European majority-minority cities.
Keywords: homemaking; neighbourhood; normality; public space; transnationalism; Somali migrants; Sweden