Contested spacing: International non-profit organizations and the mobility of asylum seekers

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The importance of examining space from an organizational standpoint is timely, not the least because the use of this concept has critical and often unintended social, and political effects (Mengis, Nicolini & Gorli, 2016). The global refugee crisis following the post-2015 Syrian conflict is perhaps one indicative situation of the highly contested ways in which international non-profit organizations (INGOs) create spaces for their organizational activities (e.g., build informal settlements to provide emergency aid), and thus affect how individuals (e.g., asylum seekers) get re-settled, confined to, or even restricted from living in such spaces. These matters are relevant since in the contexts where both the opportunities to move freely and being at peace are challenged, space is not only a neutral structure in which such contested organizing takes place (Mengis et al., 2016). Rather, it is a process consisting of various daily practices (Beyes & Steyaert, 2012) that, together with other interconnected, yet distant communicative events, help constitute organizations in distinct ways. The aim of this paper is therefore to examine how different spacing practices of organizations such as INGOs working in regions that deal with massive influxes of forced migration are constitutive of organizing and thereby contribute to or limit the mobility of asylum seekers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventEGOS: Surprise in and Around Organizations: Journeys to the Unexpected - Estonian Business School/Tallinn University, Tallinn, Estonia
Duration: 5 Jul 20187 Jul 2018
Conference number: 34


LocationEstonian Business School/Tallinn University
Internet address

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