Homestay Accommodation for Refugees

Small Group Project 2024-25


Matteo Bassoli & Clément Luccioni
Small Group Project 2024-25

In the wake of Europe’s recent refugee influx, notably post-2015 and during the Ukrainian crisis of 2022, a surge of solidarity initiatives has transformed the landscape of refugee accommodation. This project delves into the burgeoning phenomenon of homestay accommodation, a solidarity-driven practice where private homes become sanctuaries for those displaced. Drawing on extant frameworks (Bassoli and Luccioni 2023), our research scrutinizes the variegated practices of homestay accommodation, probing the intersection of private hospitality with the legal and symbolic categorization of refugees.

Our inquiry pivots on four cardinal questions: the rationale and methods of categorization by homestay organizations; the consonance or dissonance of homestay practices with state asylum policies; the emergence of positive or negative refugee figures from host narratives; and the perception and experience of these figures by stakeholders.

Methodologically, we employ a qualitative approach, integrating narrative analysis and case studies from various European locales to unearth the ethical, political, and social underpinnings shaping homestay practices. By examining host narratives, organizational policies, and refugee experiences, this project foregrounds the production and impact of refugee categories within the sphere of private hospitality.

The significance of this research lies in its potential to illuminate the oft-overlooked ethical and political dimensions of refugee accommodation and the (re)production of social hierarchies. We anticipate that our findings will contribute a nuanced understanding of how solidarity initiatives, while well-intentioned, can inadvertently perpetuate inequalities.

The research will support young scholars across Europe to meet twice, one for the Lisbon’s 21st IMISCOE Annual Conference (July 2024) and one for a dedicated workshop in Padua (winter 2024/2025). The meetings will allow a reflexive critique, fostering a dialogic space for scholars, practitioners, and policymakers to reconceptualize refugee accommodation, not merely as a physical arrangement but as a socially constructed realm imbued with ethical complexity and political significance.

Contacting Fellows

If you would like to contact any of our Fellows to discuss their ISRF-funded work, please contact Dr Lars Cornelissen (Academic Editor) in the first instance, at [email protected].