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Abstract

Housing is considered an important social determinant of health. In the context of refugee

migration, living in one’s own apartment is a key indicator of successful integration. The type

of housing in which refugees are accommodated, however, varies widely. Empirically,

measuring health-related attributes of accommodation is challenging. Research on refugee

camps has been drawing from various field and particular theoretical concepts. In this article,

these theoretical concepts – mainly based on the work of Hannah Arendt, Erving Goffman,

Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben – form the basis for developing a broad analytical

framework of refugee accommodation. Housing in the context of refugee accommodation

must be understood from four dimensions, including the broader political context, the

immediate surroundings of the accommodation and its’ physical and social boundaries, and

the structures and processes inside the accommodation that may establish means of social

control. As the conditions of each of these three dimensions can affect individuals differently,

a fourth, individual dimension complements this analytical framework with a subjective

evaluation of the overall living situation. The framework provides a multidimensional approach

to assess the context of refugee accommodation which then can be used to systematically

analyse health associations. The relevance that the dimensions and contextual factors of this

framework have on health is supported by empirical evidence as well as conceptual

approaches.