The purpose of this thesis is to advance the understanding of refugees’ everyday life conditions within the European Union today. While in the years of the cold war the “refugee” was rather seen as a “hero”, nowadays (s)he is represented as a “victim” (Marchetti, 2014b): In the public discourse the word “Refugee” is currently associated to words such as “marginalization”, “poverty”. Indeed most of refugees are experiencing all of this. Moving away from this perspective in this dissertation I consider refugees as social actors in the European Union system; I have focused on their mobility across countries, namely Italy and Germany, because mobility is a necessary – although unequally accessible – resource in order to build a living. This thesis describes and explains the mechanisms that lie in refugees’ lived experiences of discrimination and marginalization, notably focusing on the legal status of refugees and their mobility, analyzing their interaction within the Schengen area.
Basing on an ethnographic research, this thesis thus explores and analyses the cross-national mobility of refugees’ within the Schengen area and the living conditions of refugees both in loco and while moving across Turin and Berlin, two cities that are two important knots in the wide spanning web of contacts of refugees who took part in my research.