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Panel 42. Housing Challenges of Migrants in Cities of the Global North and the Global South


  • Omar Pereyra Cáceres, Profesor Asociado, Departamento de Ciencias Sociales – Sección Sociología, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú,
  • Hilary Silver, Professor of Sociology, International Affairs, and Public Policy, George Washington University, Washington, DC USA,


This panel proposal addresses aspects of the conference theme, “The politics and spaces of encounters: advancing dialogues between and within the Global North and the Global South.” Much of the literature on migration gives central importance to the “place” where migrants and refugees settle, primarily referring to the neighborhood level and the consequences of residing there. Neighborhoods vary in access to resources, opportunities and contact with native born residents, which in turn influence social integration in their new home. However, access to resource-rich neighborhoods rests upon available housing. The encounters that migrants have as they search for and settle in housing is the topic of this session.

It calls for papers building upon recent work in the “sociology of housing” — its production, sector, cost, living conditions, and impact on identity, sense of belonging, lifestyles, and family strategies associated with this particular asset. Location of the dwelling varies by the existing housing stock, costs, distance to work, and segregation affecting quality of life, stigmatization, and integration into the rest of society. Access to various neighborhoods is differentiated by the resources available to individuals, ethnicity, social capital, or the conditions or limitations imposed both by the housing market (formal or informal) and the state through its housing policies (from rental subsidies to public housing provision). Migrants face special obstacles to finding adequate housing in comparison to the native population, and may result in homelessness. Their search for housing can vary due to their legal and employment status, their eligibility for existing housing programs, having native references and social networks. Many find themselves alone in the process, turning to any available ethnic, religious, or social networks in the host country. Even when accommodation is found, migrants have special problems to hold onto it, due to vulnerability and instability of employment, insufficient or volatile income to cover its costs, risks of accidents, illness, robbery, or other calamities, eviction and enforcement of immigration laws, or problems with neighbors or landlords. There are some global commonalities in the experience of asylum- seeking in particular, but also differences in reception by cities of the Global North and South. For example, fleeing across Latin American countries may not impose as many language and religious barriers that confront Middle Eastern refugees to Europe, even if Latin American cities, unlike European ones, have not organized official reception and shelter policies. We invite qualitative, historical, comparative, or quantitative explorations into a variety of housing experiences, mechanisms, and structures that migrant groups encounter in different cities. We especially welcome comparisons of experiences of a given migrant group encountering places in the Global North and Global South.

Centro de Estudios de Conflicto y Cohesión Social.

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Torre 26, Oficina 1504
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Los Navegantes 1963
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