Migration to Norrköping the focus of student report

Sports and culture – how can they facilitate integration? What is it like for an HBTQ person to immigrate to a new country, and how do extreme right-wing opinions in society affect a person’s ability to feel at home in Sweden? These are some of the questions investigated by master’s students from Linköping University in the report “Norrköping- City of Immigration”.

The first batch of students from the master’s programme Ethnic and Migration Studies has written a report on Norrköping – the city where they will spend their two years as students.

“Immigration to Norrköping is a phenomenon as old as the city itself. Norrköping has been a centre for cotton, wool and paper production, and has had to receive large numbers of immigrants throughout its recent history. Whether they came from villages in Sweden or from abroad, these newcomers contributed to Norrköping’s wealth,” says Martin Klinthäll, migration researcher and course coordinator for the master’s programme.

In the report, Norrköping residents who have immigrated to the city get to give their views on a number of topics, as they share experiences, thoughts on belonging, and their view of the city and everyday life. The report is based on their own experiences, in order to give space to voices that aren’t heard so often, and to hear what they feel that the city can change.

“Integration is a two-way process where both the host country and the immigrant can contribute. During our work with the report we saw that there are a number of barriers and misunderstandings that hinder integration,” says Rudeina Mkdad, co-editor of the report and co-author of three of its articles.

Barriers to integration

For new arrivals in Sweden, language is one of the barriers that makes things difficult. Many activities are aimed at new arrivals, for instance sporting and cultural activities, but they don’t find out about the activities because they are advertised in Swedish.

“The organisers are disappointed when so few people turn up. One solution to this is to advertise in the mother tongue of the intended participants,” says Rudeina Mkdad.

The report also points to a number of difficulties facing people who have immigrated to Sweden because of their sexual orientation. Examples include the Swedish Migration Agency’s assessment of whether a person is credible as a homosexual, and how HBTQ people can feel unsafe in refugee housing.

The students presented results and lessons learned while writing the report to politicians in Norrköping. On 20 October, Rudeina Mkdad was part of a group visiting the Norrköping town hall to discuss how the city can proceed with its work in the area of integration.

“Ethnic and Migration Studies prepares students for professions where they will come up against some of the difficult questions facing the world today. The report is one step in training the students to identify the key issues relating to migration. Also, it returns knowledge to society,” says Martin Klinthäll.

The report is the first in a new report series linked to Ethnic and Migration Studies: Reports from the Master's Program in Ethnic and Migration Studies - R.E.M.S.

The report: 

Norrköping – City of Immigration 2017, Reports from the Master's program in Ethnic and Migration Studies - R.E.M.S., 1.

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