Overcoming bordering practices through the arts: The case of young Syrian refugees and their Danish counterparts in Denmark

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During 2014, Denmark received nearly 15,000 asylum seekers, almost twice the number from the previous year as more people fleeing Syria’s war fled to Europe. By 2016, Denmark succeeded in making the country highly unattractive as a destination for refugees fleeing war torn countries. The country introduced a controversial “jewellery bill”, placed adverts in a newspaper in Lebanon dissuading refugees from contemplating a trip to Denmark, and cut assistance benefits for refugees by half. These state bordering practices aimed at securing some kind of “Danishness”. This article aims at ascribing agency to young Syrian refugees in Denmark who have experienced these bordering practices and who seek to counter these practices by participating in meaningful social interactions with their Danish counterparts. The empirical focus is an artistic enactment – a weeklong dance workshop that brought these youngsters together as a distinct form of practice that brings about the conditions of possibility for meaningful integration. Conceptually, it draws upon Arendt’s theory of action and notion of “plurality” to frame how such encounters come about.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)781-802
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Special Issue on THE REFUGEE CRISIS AND ANTI-MIGRATION PARTIES: THE CHANGING REGIONAL CONTEXTS IN EUROPE, co-guest edited by Andrey Makarychev and Stefano Braghiroli (University of Tartu)

Important note from the Publisher regarding the attached version of the article: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Geopolitics on 20 Oct 2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14650045.2017.1383385”


  • Denmark
  • asylum policy
  • refugee crisis
  • anti-migration parties
  • Europe
  • arts
  • dance
  • bordering practices
  • social cohesion
  • Syria
  • refugees

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