5: “Come to my house!”: Homing practices of children in Swiss asylum camps


Children living in a Swiss cantonal asylum centre repeatedly asked the researcher studying their everyday lives to ‘come to my house’ and were also often talking about that they did not belong and couldn’t feel at home. What does it mean for children to live in a place where they don’t want to and cannot feel home? In order to answer this question, this chapter explores the ‘houses’ of the ‘camp’ – rooms that children live with their parent(s). The children’s homing strategies (Winther, 2009) in a non-place (Augé, 1995/2010) will be examined using examples from an ethnographic study that took place between 2019 and 2020 in a ‘cantonal center’ – or as the children put it ‘camp’. This examination reveals how homing strategies are deployed within the adversarial structural conditions of Swiss cantonal camps.

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