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“Are we criminals?” – everyday racialisation in temporary asylum accommodation

Guma, Taulant; Blake, Yvonne; Maclean, Gavin; MacLeod, Kirsten; Makutsa, Robert; Sharapov, Kiril


Yvonne Blake

Robert Makutsa


This paper critically examines the placement of people seeking asylum in temporary accommodation during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is based on a 14-month collaborative ethnography conducted between 2020 and 2022 with asylum seeking individuals in Glasgow. While moves to temporary accommodation were framed by state authorities and private firms as providing a ‘safe environment’ from Covid-19, we show how these relocations amounted to a racialised process which constructed our participants as ‘undeserving’ and ‘unworthy’ of protection and care during a period of crisis. Our analysis highlights how this racialisation took place not only on a policy level but also in practice through everyday encounters with private provider staff. Advancing the literature on asylum housing and dispersal through new theoretical and empirical contributions, we argue that the rise of temporary forms of asylum accommodation can be understood as constitutive of racial modes of belonging within a regime of differential humanity.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 20, 2023
Online Publication Date Jul 25, 2023
Publication Date 2024
Deposit Date Jun 7, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jul 25, 2023
Print ISSN 0141-9870
Electronic ISSN 1466-4356
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 47
Issue 4
Pages 742-762
Keywords asylum seekers, Covid-19, hostile environment, housing, outsourcing, racism
Public URL


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