Migrant youth out of place? Cross-cultural understandings of Night and Belonging in Lisbon and Aarhus

Migrant youth out of place? Cross-cultural understandings of Night and Belonging in Lisbon and Aarhus


  • Co-create venues with local community leaders for youth to share night experiences in the city through forms of storytelling, images, sound, sports and art
  • Co-create urban maps of inclusion and exclusion with local youth
  • Discover common ground between the state agents and migrant or non-ethnic Danes/Portuguese related to the night


The project is contextualised within two case studies, Lisbon, Portugal and Aarhus, Denmark, to test how spatial belonging is negotiated through culture and how culture expresses understandings and experiences of being in/out of place vis-a-vis policing/surveillance practices.

This project investigates nighttime cultural activities of migrant youth in Lisbon and Aarhus and how the presence of those communities in the urban night public spaces is framed and regulated. Researchers conduct fieldwork in the largely Luso-African Lisbon periphery, and in the areas surrounding City Vest, a commerce centre and police-community contact with high concentrations of Muslim Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Aarhus.

Based on this context researchers will address three areas of inquiry: regulation, transgression and integration.

Regulation refers to how the State reckons and spatially limits the key categories of youth, migrants, night, residence, leisure and family. How do such views compare with local understandings by community organizations and migrant families? How are such views gendered by operating notions of masculinity and femininity?  

Transgression implies border crossing. When are migrants targeted as out of place and how might this be viewed differently across the different actors? Again, how does gender play a role in the construal of transgression? How might “culture,” understood here as a broad spectrum of activities and performances symbolic of collective identities and necessarily in dialogue with “others,” contribute to the definition of transgression?

Integration refers to meaningful efforts to bridge such perceptual differences. How have state, NGO and community actors addressed such time-space differences? Which initiatives have been successful, if any? What were the distinguishing elements of relatively (un)successful approaches?

Find out more about this project here


  • Dr Derek Pardue
    PI 4, Associate Professor, Aarhus University, Global Studies Department