Understanding the Emotional Geographies of Migrant Women in Copenhagen using Photo Elicitation

University essay from Malmö universitet/Institutionen för Urbana Studier (US)

Abstract: With a tense political landscape with stigmatizing discourse about migrants and so-called migrant ghettos, alongside continuous indications of gender imbalances in public spaces in Copenhagen, a focus on migrant women was chosen. The thesis takes its outset in a photo project conducted in Kringlebakken, an integration house in Copenhagen. Six migrant women participated and were asked to photograph the city through their eyes, meaning taking photos of their everyday lives and places they wanted to show and talk about in the following photo elicitation interviews. With agency and empowerment as key values the women navigated the conversation and shared experiences about their everyday lives. Concepts of intersectionality, the everyday and emotional geographies were applied through a feminist lens, highlighting the role emotions play in shaping our perception of spaces. From an inductive approach two themes were found: 1) green spaces and 2) everyday practices and challenges. The women shared peaceful moments and embodied experiences in nature both with themselves, with their children and their family. The green spaces evoked gratitude, appreciation and peace and had a general restorative effect in their everyday life. Their appreciation mainly stems from previous experiences in their home countries where urban green areas are not as accessible. Furthermore green spaces become a space where the women can get a break from the everyday chores. In contrast, the experiences shared about the everyday spaces and practices included language barriers, discrimination and feelings of exclusion. The added hindrances to urban life brings a level of discomfort in their everyday lives and it is here that Kringlebakken plays an essential role as an inclusive space in the women’s lives. Highlighting these embodied experiences adds nuances to a heterogeneous group that is often depicted as a homogeneous group.

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