• Gaja Maestri
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology book series (PSEPS)


The introduction opens with the stories of three camp dwellers and presents the research question, which is: Why do different camps persist in different ways? It then clarifies the focus of the research: institutional camps, i.e. created and run by state agencies. Despite often emerging as temporary solutions in situations of emergency, these camps, however, often persist. I thus unpack the concept of ‘persistent temporariness’, which I argue has been under-theorised. The book aims to fill this gap in the literature by construing persistence through theories on ‘incremental institutional change’ and by looking at different regimes of enduring temporariness in order to understand the factors that determine it. To do so, I combine theoretical approaches in camp and ghetto studies and advance a conceptualisation of the camp as a space of ‘contentious politics’. This underscores the plurality of state and non-state actors governing it and their ever-evolving frames, resources, opportunities and repertoires of action. Finally, the introduction presents the comparative method employed, which I call ‘asymmetrical comparison’, i.e. a combination of the in-depth analysis of one case (i.e. the Italian Roma camps) and a small-n comparison (with the French integration villages and past transit estates).


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Media, Communication and SociologyUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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