‘Being Stuck’: Refugees’ Experiences of Enforced Waiting in Greece.

Auteurs: Bjertrup PJ Farhat JB Bouhenia M Neuman M Mayaud P Blanchet K
Référence de l'article: Immobility and Medicine 2020 (pp. 39-59)
Refugees Greece


Waiting has traditionally been considered a passive state and Hage (2009) identified a sense of ‘stuckedness’, as the cornerstones of social life become suspended when liminality turns into protracted waiting (Hage 2009). The connotations of waiting to passivity have been challenged by highlighting degrees of activity within the wait (Bendixen and Eriksen 2018; Brun 2015; Rotter 2016). In this chapter, we explore how refugees in Greece experienced waiting after the European border closure March 2016, which rendered them immobile. We analyse how the refugees experience waiting in Greek refugee camps and waiting in relation to the asylum system as passive, uncertain, meaningless and disempowering. In some cases, however, waiting is active and meaningful, as the refugees actively engage with the present or orient themselves towards a hoped-for future by, for example, volunteering in camps or practising a new language. By shedding light on the affective dimensions of waiting, we point to the potentials for mental health and psychosocial interventions to recognize and draw on what refugees articulate as influencing well-being positively and negatively within the wait.