“We can always return to the forest” Narratives of European labour migrants navigating the informal rental market in Oslo
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The focus of this study is the housing careers, housing strategies and experiences of five European labour migrants who are currently living, or who have at some point, lived informally in Oslo. There has been little focus on the informal rental market in Norway and most studies rely on data from second-hand sources. The experiences of the five informants range from being one out of a hundred in a crowded and substandard house to being able to stay long term in affordable and good-standard, informal housing. Their long-term migration strategies and the economic, social and cultural capital they have at their disposal does not only affect what apartments are accessible to them, but also how they make sense of the housing market as a whole and their agency within it. The empirical data in this study is gathered through semi-structured, qualitative interviews and with the use of narrative analysis, narratives like the the empowered tenant and the disempowered tenant have been identified, following changes in their economic, social or cultural capital that change the power dynamics between the informants as tenants and their landlords. In addition, narratives touching on their perceived barriers of entering the formal rental market, the barriers of ethnicity, a lack of income and the need for flexibility and the view of informality as effortlessness has been discussed in the light of other relevant research on the structural barriers that labour migrants face on the formal rental market. This study demonstrates that there are many structural barriers for European labour migrants to enter the formal rental market in Oslo and it opens up for others to profit off them.
Master i International Social Welfare and Health Policy