Welfare Aesthetics in the ‘Ghetto’: a scientific-aesthetic montage of sound, visuals and critical perspectives on the homed regulation of racialized migrant bodies

Marta Padovan-Özdemir, Nadia Mansour, Aysha Amin, Alexander Alexander Muchenberger

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftAbstraktForskningpeer review


Since 2010, Danish governments have screened social housing areas with the objective of listing and targeting so-called socially deprived areas, ghettos or hardcore ghettos. This practice has developed into now five screening parameters: Education, income, employment, ethnicity, and crime, of which ethnicity trumps the others. The implications are severe. Building blocks are demolished, and families forced to build a home in new places; crime is sanctioned harder according to one’s residence address; and non-Danish speaking residents are denied civil liberties that others enjoy. Simultaneously, social housing areas constitute hotspots of social and cultural experimentation (Bärnheim, Bøggild, and Weiss 2020; Padovan-Özdemir 2020).
Entangled with this social history are scholars, activists, social workers, and cultural workers engaged in re/co-writing the listed social housing areas. This paper presents an experimental montage of the aesthetic relations unfolding in a collaborative of the art platform Andromeda 8220 based in Gellerup Aarhus and the research project, Making it home: An Aesthetic Methodological Contribution to the Study of Migrant Home-Making and Politics of Integration.
Empirically, the montage builds on recordings and visuals derived from an interactive Long Table session (McAvinchey 2014) with invited stakeholders, activists, and public audience consuming a conversation menu of welfare, urban development, and integration efforts. It also draws from the collaborative’s personal-professional archives of research and cultural productions connected to the homed regulation of racialised migrant bodies.
With the style of montage (Dillon 2004), we aim to create a space of testimony, critique, interference, avantgarde and intervention (Andersen, Aparna, and Sandberg 2019:7) that contribute baroque knowledge and critique (Law and Ruppert 2016) of the welfare aesthetics governing social housing areas on the ‘ghetto-list’. Accordingly, we explore how ideas of the good life are inscribed into social housing planning – and how immigrant lives are perceived particularly precarious in the state’s orchestration of welfare.

Andersen, Dorte Jagetic, Kolar Aparna, and Marie Sandberg. 2019. ‘Solidaritetsarbejdets Skæringspunkter i Frivillig Flygtningehjælp’. Social Kritik (157):4–10.
Bärnheim, Pernille Maria, Signe Sophie Bøggild, and Kristoffer Lindhart Weiss, eds. 2020. The Welfare City in Transition. A Compilation of Texts and Images 1923-2020. Denmark: Danish Architectural Press.
Dillon, George L. 2004. ‘Montage/Critique: Another Way of Writing Social History’. Postmodern Culture 14(2). doi: 10.1353/pmc.2004.0005.
Law, John, and Evelyn Ruppert, eds. 2016. Modes of Knowing: Resources from the Baroque. Manchester: Mattering Press.
McAvinchey, Caoimhe. 2014. ‘Lois Weaver. Interview and Introduction by Caoimhe McAvinchey’. Pp. 21–32 in Performance and community: commentary and case studies, edited by C. McAvinchey. London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.
Padovan-Özdemir, Marta. 2020. ‘Kunst og pædagogik i et postmigrationssamfund’. Dansk pædagogisk Tidsskrift (2):38–59.
Publikationsdatojan. 2021
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2021
BegivenhedAesthetic Relations - University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Danmark
Varighed: 20 jan. 202122 jan. 2021


KonferenceAesthetic Relations
LokationUniversity of Copenhagen


  • Socialt arbejde og sociale forhold


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