Solidarity in diversity : activism as a pathway of migrant emplacement in Malmö
Written at the intersection of migration studies, urban studies, and research on activism, this thesis contributes to the exploration of solidarities born on the ground in an urban context marked by immigration and economic restructuring. Based on ethnographic material collected 2013–2016 in Malmö, Sweden, it examines alliances and friendships generated across social, cultural, ethnic, and legal divides through a particular political practice — activism as carried out by the extra- parliamentarian left. A decisive aspect is the particularity of Malmö, a city with a high density and diversity of activist groups, and Möllevången, the neighbourhood where their actions are concentrated. Möllevången is conceptualised in this thesis as an incubator for resistance to the dispossessing effects of neoliberal economic restructuring and urban gentrification. Special attention is devoted to activist groups that, at the time of fieldwork, affected the most people through their large mobilisations and solidarity-based work. While not negating differences among activists or between activists and racialised migrants in precarious legal conditions, the thesis highlights their shared experiences of co-creating political spaces and interests — commoning. This kind of embodied solidarity requires activists to experiment with non-hierarchical and non-normative ways of structuring social relations, a process filled with challenges, ambivalences, and conflicts. The thesis shows how activists cope with challenges and what they perceive as achievements. Furthermore, it shows that — despite the ever-increasing anti-immigrant rhetoric, restrictive migration policies, and neoliberalisation of the commons — solidarity and commoning contribute to pathways of migrant emplacement: re-establishing life in a particular locality, building networks, making friends, and developing a feeling of belonging to a new place. Not only does the activists’ commitment to radical equality and mutual aid create certain pathways for emplacement in the city, it also enables the political socialisation of some migrants and paves the way for a new generation of migrant activists in Malmö.