The Politics of Presence in Asylum - Negotiations over De/Centralised Asylum Accommodation in Germany with Sophie Hinger, IMIS

17 Juin, 2021 - 12:30 - 14:30

Seminar MiDi, Migration and Diversity

Sciences Po, via Zoom, Compulsory Registration

According to the national Asylum Act, asylum seekers in Germany have to reside “in principle” in asylum accommodation centres until the end of their asylum procedure. Such centres are often located outside or at the fringes of cities and offer little privacy and security to their inhabitants. Consequently, the ‘decentralisation’ of asylum accommodation, i.e. the possibility to move into private flats, has been a major demand by refugee rights organisation and initiatives. In line with such demands some municipalities enable (some) asylum seeking residents to move into private flats. This presentation will look into the selective practices of de/centralised asylum accommodation in German cities with a focus on the mid-2010s. At the time, increased numbers of refugees arrived in German localities, which led to different local responses. While some municipalities mainly relied on mass accommodation shelters, others sought to stick to their decentralisation plans. Seeking to explain the different local responses, this presentation will highlight the importance of local actor constellations and dynamics. It will offer an exemplary mapping of the different actors involved in negotiating de/centralised asylum accommodation and reflect on the implications of different modes of asylum accommodation also with regard to the current pandemic.


HingerSophie Hinger , IMIS, Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies

Sophie Hinger is a research associate at the Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS) at the University of Osnabrück. She recently submitted her PhD thesis entitled “The Politics of Presence in Asylum”, which dealt with negotiations over the inclusion:exclusion of refugees in German cities. Her research focused on three different ‘zones of negotiation’: the reception, accommodation, and deportation of refugees. She has published on this research in several collective volumes and journals, including the Journal of Refugee Studies, Human Geography and Erdkunde. In 2020, she co-edited the book “Politics of (dis) integration”.

Sophie Hinger completed a Joint European Master in Migration Studies in 2013 From the University of Amsterdam, the University of Deusto and the University of Osnabrück. She holds a B.A. in Social Sciences from the University College Maastricht.

Since 2010, Sophie Hinger has been part of several migrant rights initiatives, including borderline europe, Watch the Med Alarmphone, and the visitors’ group of the Schiphol detention centre in Amsterdam.


Viviane Spitzhofer, Sciences Po, CEE

Tommaso Vitale, Sciences Po, CEE

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