Care, chaos and cosmos: territorial refrains of refugee belonging

Ryan Frazer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Where do refugees belong? Who is responsible for the safety, welfare and happiness of migrants seeking refuge? And what constitutes a ‘right and proper’ response to refugee migration? In this paper, I explore one civic organization’s approach to answering these questions. LocalHouse is a volunteer organisation that provides support to refugees arriving in Wattle City, Australia. The aim, for LocalHouse, is not only to overcome the ‘barriers’ to settlement, but to develop a sense that one belongs in the city. Elaborating Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of the ‘refrain’ as a territorial assemblage, I chart how LocalHouse produces a historically and geographically contingent form of care as a territorial force in the city. Particular working arrangements of care are made more or less possible through LocalHouse-as-refrain, which centre around their ethos of ‘friendship-based support’. Understanding refugee resettlement in this way, we can see it is not about absorbing difference into an already existing social body, but something significantly more processual, dynamic and iterative. It involves establishing a provisional space, through repeated movements and expressive marks, in which particular ways of understanding, doing and feeling care are sustained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)915-933
Number of pages19
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Issue number7
Early online date2 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • belonging
  • care
  • Deleuze
  • refrain
  • resettlement
  • volunteering


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