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Article

Unsettled Belonging in Complex Geopolitics: Refugees, NGOs, and Rural Communities in Northern Colorado

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Department of Anthropology & Geography, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
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Department of Sociology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
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Department of Human Ecology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
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Department of Sociology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
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Department of Ecosystem Science & Sustainability, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jonathan London and Clare Cannon
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1344; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031344
Received: 30 November 2020 / Revised: 15 January 2021 / Accepted: 25 January 2021 / Published: 28 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Rural Community Development and Environmental Justice)
In Colorado, meat processing and packing industries profit from the low-wage labor of foreign born workers and refugees in particular. Scholars and journalists have examined the hazardous and environmentally unjust workplace conditions in meatpacking, and detailed refugee struggles in North American resettlement geographies. Our research builds from this work to examine how multi-scalar geopolitical processes shape processes of refugee resettlement and refugee labor in Colorado’s meatpacking industries. Methods for this work include analysis of secondary data and twenty-two semi-structured interviews with various actors knowledgeable about refugee resettlement and/or agricultural production in Colorado. We argue various intersecting geopolitical processes—from immigration raids of meatpacking plants to presidential-level xenophobic discourses and ensuing immigration policies—interact to impact refugee resettlement and participation in the meat production sector. Moreover, while the U.S.’s neoliberal model of outsourcing resettlement to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has been widely critiqued, we argue NGO employees, many of whom identify as foreign-born and/or refugees, work to build connection and belonging among refugees in challenging resettlement environments. We suggest a feminist geopolitics approach, which examines how the “global” and the “intimate” are deeply intertwined, is a useful perspective for understanding complicated racialized spaces in the rural United States, including efforts to build connections and empower refugee identities. View Full-Text
Keywords: feminist geopolitics; refugees; meatpacking feminist geopolitics; refugees; meatpacking
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hausermann, H.; Lundy, M.; Mitchell, J.; Ipsen, A.; Zorn, Q.; Vasquez-Romero, K.; DeMorrow Lynch, R. Unsettled Belonging in Complex Geopolitics: Refugees, NGOs, and Rural Communities in Northern Colorado. Sustainability 2021, 13, 1344. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031344

AMA Style

Hausermann H, Lundy M, Mitchell J, Ipsen A, Zorn Q, Vasquez-Romero K, DeMorrow Lynch R. Unsettled Belonging in Complex Geopolitics: Refugees, NGOs, and Rural Communities in Northern Colorado. Sustainability. 2021; 13(3):1344. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031344

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hausermann, Heidi, Morgan Lundy, Jill Mitchell, Annabel Ipsen, Quentin Zorn, Karen Vasquez-Romero, and Riley DeMorrow Lynch. 2021. "Unsettled Belonging in Complex Geopolitics: Refugees, NGOs, and Rural Communities in Northern Colorado" Sustainability 13, no. 3: 1344. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031344

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