Verdasco, Andrea. ‘Communities of Belonging in the Temporariness of the Danish Asylum System: Shalini’s Anchoring Points’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vol. 45, no. 9, July 2019, pp. 1439–1457.
Refugees often find themselves in a protracted situation of temporariness, as applications for asylum are processed, deportations negotiated and possible extensions of temporary protection status considered within the context of increasingly restrictive governmental policies across Europe. Through the case of a young Sri Lankan woman who arrived in Denmark as an ‘unaccompanied asylum-seeking minor’ and spent five years within the Danish asylum system, this article explores how she experienced moving through different legal categories and the institutional settings associated with them. I argue that, by engaging in social relations in the localities where she was situated, she developed places of belonging that could serve as ‘anchoring points’ providing some measure of stability in her otherwise unpredictable and precarious life situation. This case suggests that, even under conditions of protracted temporariness and legal uncertainty, individuals are able to create important anchoring points and develop communities of belonging that can serve them in a difficult process of belonging to Denmark.