Reflections on the variations and spatialities of (un)welcome – commentary to Gill


  • Jani Vuolteenaho University of Turku
  • Eveliina Lyytinen The Migration Institute of Finland


In this reflection, we seek to develop some of Professor Gill’s inspiring ideas on the notion of (un)welcome further. We do this, in particular, by problematizing his largely dualistic conception of the emotionally-invested, inter-personal forms of welcome contra a bureaucratic tendency to abstract welcome, to hollow it out emotionally. We argue that if applied too rigidly, this dichotomy can be unwieldy for making sense of the actual socio-spatial and emotional dynamics of (un)welcome. To elaborate this criticism, we expand on the notion of welcome from three interrelated perspectives. First, we argue that besides the opposite poles of people who welcome refugees, and forces that attempt to exclude them, great many actors convey more ambiguous and contextually varying attitudes to (un)welcoming immigrants. In the light of Lefebvre’s conceptual triad of social space, we next point out that Gill’s conceptualization pays inadequate heed to the practiced and societally recompensing aspects of everyday spatiality and welcoming. Finally, we take a cue from Gill’s suggestion to analyze welcome from the emotional geographies perspective, and reflect on exclusionary and inclusionary socio-spatial processes related to refugees’ emotions (lived space) and coping tactics (practiced space).




How to Cite

Vuolteenaho, J., & Lyytinen, E. (2018). Reflections on the variations and spatialities of (un)welcome – commentary to Gill. Fennia - International Journal of Geography, 196(1), 118–123.