Exploring the imaginations and experiences of the refugee crisis

November 16, 2017
Exploring the imaginations and experiences of the refugee crisis

Susanne Bygnes received a FRIPRO Young Research Talents grant for the project "Imagining and Experiencing the 'Refugee Crisis'" (IMEX). Bygnes is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Sociology, University of Bergen. Bygnes is affiliated with DIGSSCORE, and will use the DIGSSCORE facilities for her project.

“Imagining and Experiencing the ‘Refugee Crisis’” explores the view of both arriving asylum seekers and local Norwegians. The project investigates how the recently arrived asylum seekers have imagined and experienced Europe. In addition, it examines how members of local communities in Norway imagine and experience the arrival of the refugee crisis to Europe and to local communities in Norway. The project will rely on fieldwork, in-depth qualitative interviews, focus-groups and data from a large scale nationally representative survey (NCP).

Bygnes and Arnesen, FRIPRO grantees

From left: The two DIGSSCORE affiliates Sveinung Arnesen and Susanne Bygnes both received a FRIPRO Young Research Talents grant from the Research Council of Norway

To examine the imaginations and experiences of members of local communities in Norway when it comes to the arrival of the refugee crisis to Europe, Bygnes will make use of another DIGSSCORE unit, namely the Norwegian Citizen Panel (NCP). Through NCP, she can study questions about minority-majority relations and the establishment of new refugee facilities with data from a large scale nationally representative survey. These questions will also be studied through in-depth interviews with Norwegian citizens.

During the winter 2015/spring 2016, Bygnes collected data through the Norwegian Citizen Panel. The findings show that among those who did not have an asylum centre in their neighbourhood, only four in ten thought it would be okay if an asylum center were to be established. Whereas among those who already had an asylum centre in the neighbourhood, six in ten thought it was okay.

Bygnes at Arendalsuka
Susanne Bygnes explains her study about attitudes toward asylum centres to people at Arendalsuka 2017.

Bygnes and her team will also conduct focus groups at the DIGSSCORE facility, where they will use the multimedia Citizen Lab to develop innovative new qualitative research techniques. They will draw on photo/film elicitation in focus group discussions with Syrian migrants. During exchanges based on words alone, we use less of our brains than when eliciting exchanges with images. Using images evokes both more and different information.