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Drawing Back the Curtains

The Role of Domestic Space in the Social Inclusion and Exclusion of Refugees in Rural Denmark

Birgitte Romme Larsen

This article examines negotiations over social inclusion and exclusion that take place during everyday settlement processes among refugee families located in rural areas in Denmark. Using the case study of a Congolese household, the article shows how local codes of sociability are often concretized and materialized in domestic space in ways that turn the home sphere, with its daily routines and material culture, into a domain of vital importance for the social incorporation of refugee newcomers. This domestic domain is of particular significance in a country where, on the one hand, the integration programs of the welfare state are highly regulatory and tend to intervene deeply in refugees' private spheres and, on the other, cultural homogeneity is emphasized and regarded as closely related to equality.