Governing displaced migration in Europe: Housing and the role of the “local”

Nasar Meer*, Claudio Dimaio, Emma Hill, Maria Angeli, Klara Oberg, Henrik Emilsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article will explore the extent to which a focus on the ‘local’ can tell us something meaningful about recent developments in the governance of displaced migrants and refugees. Taking a multi-sited approach spanning cases in the south and north of Europe, we consider how the challenge of housing and accommodation in particular, a core sector of migrant reception and integration, can shed light on the ways local and city level approaches may negotiate, and sometimes diverge from, national level policy and rhetoric. While it can be said that despite variation, local authorities are by definition ultimately ‘always subordinate’ (Emilsson, Comparative Migration Studies, 3: 1-17, 2015: 4), they can also show evidence of ‘decoupling’ across geographies of policy delivery (Pope and Meyer, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, 3: 280–305, 2016: 290). This article traces how possible local variations in different European cases are patterned by ground-level politics, local strategic networks, and pre-existing economic resources in a manner that is empirically detailed through the study of housing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalComparative Migration Studies
Issue number1
Early online date25 Jan 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jan 2021


  • Europe
  • governance
  • housing
  • local
  • migration
  • refugees


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