‘Milan doesn’t want us to be comfortable’
Differential inclusion of refugees in Milan
in How the other half lives
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How can we best describe refugees’ post-reception livelihoods in European cities? To what extent does the fact of having a protection status make one included in its ‘mainstream community’? This chapter tries to answer these questions and show the differential inclusion that status-holder refugees are subjected to. While many studies have explored undocumented refugees’ exclusion and absence of a sense of belonging as a consequence of their lack of legal status, here we shed light on refugees who obtain a protection status and their feelings of dislocation and marginality as emerging from three crucial dimensions: space, time and general attitude. To do so, the chapter draws from the experience of a group of Sub-Saharan African men with protection status who live in the Italian city of Milan following the recent ‘refugee crisis’. Based on qualitative observations and in-depth interviews, the chapter points out how refugees in Milan make up a stratum of people equipped with access to rights which are granted formally, but not in practice. Taken together, it is argued that although cities are often depicted as having the potential to foster new forms of solidarity and social inclusion, urban contexts are still confronted with processes of differential inclusion that impact adversely on refugees’ inclusion.

How the other half lives

Interconnecting socio-spatial inequalities

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