Intergroup Encounters in Urban Public Spaces: Everyday Strategies of Host Community Members Following a Refugee Influx
Author: Ezgi Irgil (UI)
Some host community members (HCMs) develop positive attitudes toward refugees, while others do not. The current literature on perceptions of refugees offers different explanations for these varied responses to intergroup encounters (positive contact, negative contact, and exposure). Nevertheless, few scholars have examined the outcomes of intergroup relations at the microlevel to better understand the various impacts of intergroup encounters between HCMs and refugees. Even fewer scholars have focused on the everyday implications of HCMs’ attitudes toward refugees in response to changing local demographics. In this article, I argue that in addition to the type of intergroup encounters, the locations where these encounters occur at the neighborhood level serve as a critical factor in understanding HCMs’ sociospatial attitudes or their attitudes toward refugees at the microlevel of everyday life. In doing so, I introduce the concept of everyday strategies to describe the sociospatial attitudes that HCMs adopt in different types of urban public spaces following their encounters with refugees in neighborhoods that have experienced a large refugee influx. Empirically, the analysis draws on interviews conducted with 60 HCMs in Bursa, Turkey, in 2018 and, through the concept of everyday strategies, extends the literature on HCMs’ attitudes regarding refugees. Overall, this article contributes to the wider study of international migration by detailing the influence of microlevel intergroup encounters on HCMs’ sociospatial attitudes in a South-South forced migration context.