New research project- Accounting practices in the everyday life of a refugee

Adriana de La Peña Espinosa New Research Project Sweden

IUR researcher Stig Westerdahl, together with Birgitta Vitestam (Malmö University), Amanda Curry (Luleå, University of Technology) and Johan Sandström (Luleå, University of Technology), received a 2.2 million SEK grant from Jan Wallanders och Tom Hedelius Stiftelse and Tore Browaldhs Stiftelse, for a project titled Accounting practices in the everyday life of a refugee.

The project concerns how accounting practices interlink with the everyday life of refugees, emphasizing the social significance of accounting. We address the question: What is the role of accounting in the everyday life of the refugee? Refugees are shadowed in rural and urban contexts. The method consists of observations, conversations, and artefacts, enabling us to listen in, trace artefacts in time and space, and hands-on identify accounting practices encountered by refugees. This study can illuminate how individuals enact accounting practices and query their influence on everyday life. An accounting focus on migration can make visible social issues relevant for immigration policies.

The empirical material is obtained from following refugees in two different contexts: Malmö and Luleå. The methodological base consists of observations, conversations, and artefacts. This mix of methods enables us to listen in, trace artefacts in time and space, partake feelings and to hands-on identify accounting practices in refugees’ everyday life. Our point of departure is when an accounting practice (a calculation, measurement, classification) is enacted in the refugee’s everyday life, which is then traced (who did it, what is it based on, how it was enacted, with what consequences).

The study is unique since insights from the refugee situation can teach us about how accounting practices are enacted (incl. contested) by individuals and reveal how accounting practices permeate everyday life to a larger part than normally assumed. Insights from the study can also enhance our knowledge about integration and its complexities with the potential to better facilitate integration. An accounting focus on migration can make visible social problems from a different angle and reveal social consequences of immigration policies.