C – Mobilities, migrations, and transnational actors

Encounters, cultures of integration and patterns of exclusion: Social work practices and institutions in times of migration

Event Details

  • Date

    Saturday, 27 June - 14:00 – 16:00

  • Venue
    tba
  • Theme
    C – Mobilities, migrations, and transnational actors
Convenor
  • Jesper Johansson (Linnaeus University)
Chair
  • Kristina Gustafsson (Linnaeus University)
Commentator
  • Barzoo Eliassi (Linnaeus University)
Panelists
  • Kristina Gustafsson (Linnaeus University)
  • Jesper Johansson (Linnaeus University)
  • Åsa Söderqvist Forkby (Linnaeus University)
  • Torun Elsrud (Linnaeus University)
  • Peter Hultgren (Linnaeus University)

Papers

  • Kristina Gustafsson
    Jesper Johansson
    Negotiated Narratives about the Reception of Refugees and Migrants in Sweden

    Negotiated Narratives about the Reception of Refugees and Migrants in Sweden

    In Sweden, the increase of refugees in the autumn of 2015 first brought a collective burst of solidarity but soon followed by a dramatic shift in the country's migration policies. In July 2016 a new restrictive law was implemented which stipulates restrictions on permanent residency and family reunification. It was a turning point: going from a relatively progressive policy towards the European minimum standard. Simultaneously, public opinion shifted and became increasingly polarized on matters of migration and integration. This paper turns the focus to the experiences of welfare state professionals and volunteers, who took part in the reception of refugees in 2015 and had to reconcile these changes in policy and public opinion with their daily work situation in 2015– 2016. Building on inter-professional group interviews with frontline actors, the article applies narrative analysis to explore how actors use stories to frame and explain their personal and professional engagement, positions and strategies in the reception of refugees and migrants. The analysis demonstrates that there is a multitude of nuanced narratives about discrepancies, turning points, and ambivalence in relation to the reception in contrast to the current public discourse revolving around migration austerity and dominated by nationalist ideas. In the final discussion of the paper, we discuss the Swedish case in comparison to other international cases.
  • Åsa Söderqvist Forkby
    Torun Elsrud
    Social resistance and civil repair following forced migration – an ethnographic study of suffering and resistance among Swedish volunteers and young migrants

    Social resistance and civil repair following forced migration – an ethnographic study of suffering and resistance among Swedish volunteers and young migrants

    In this project, we study “civil repair” and “resistance strategies” in relation to activism practiced within nationwide and local civilian networks. These networks consist of asylum seeking, unaccompanied, young people and professionals, mainly from social services. The project has two main objectives. Through studying activities, narratives and meaning-making in these networks, one objective is to examine how the networks handle the young migrants’ precarious situation to understand the significance of civil networks as support systems during societal challenges. A second objective is to seek knowledge about developments within the social work profession, through social workers’ ways of dealing with conflicts between social work based on “control” and social work based on “compassion” at a time characterized by harshened treatment of migrants and strict exercise of authority, calling moral and ethical norms concerning human rights and children’s rights into question. With a traditional ethnographic approach we study activities, narratives and meaning making at places where the young migrants and the networks interact. We carry out recurrent participatory observations, interviews with volunteers and migrants in local and national networks in southern Sweden. The findings provide important knowledge about the ways civil society reacts to and handles profound societal changes. Furthermore, the findings about the ways Swedish civil society react and handle these societal changes are linked to the situation in other international civil society contexts.
  • Peter Hultgren
    The workings of social cohesion – immigrants’ establishment in the local community

    The workings of social cohesion – immigrants’ establishment in the local community

    How does the established civic networks respond when the population in a local community rapidly change, from a relative ethnically homogenous to a heterogenous population? What part will local enterprises, associations and local citizens, new and old, take in processes of building new social bounds bridging the societies and individual needs? In this case study immigrants establishment in a local community is investigated as an aspect of social cohesion and it’s enabling and hindering capacities. The local community in the study is an example of a vast number of local communities that is facing an aging population, difficulties to secure competence and manpower to local enterprises and to secure population basis for public services. Although some foundations for integration, i.e. work opportunities, well-developed public services and a good housing situation is at hand, the community could be described as divided. There is a profound gap between locals and immigrants. In the study, participatory observations are combined with interviews with representatives of local enterprises and civic networks, of locals as well as immigrants and of public servants. The analysis point at the selectivity of social networks, the stratification of immigrants as more or less eligible. Furthermore, the result show that while some civic networks find new tasks and meaning adopting to the immigrants needs, others demonstrate the capacity to shut and hinder the establishment of immigrants using both active and passive forms of resistance. Although immigrants and the established have a win-win situation, the gap persists as immigrants’ looks for opportunities elsewhere and the established have difficulties to consider immigrants as part of the solutions to the needs of the local community. In the concluding discussion, the findings concerning this studied case about immigrants’ establishment in a local community are discussed in relation to other national and international cases drawn from previous research studies.

Abstract

This panel seeks to explore contemporary migration history in relation to Nordic and other national welfare institutions response to migrants and minority groups and experiences of such encounters. Sweden as well as other Nordic and European countries have recently experienced significant changes in migration policies from rather progressive policies towards austerity and restrictive policies (Grzymala-Kazlowska and Phillimore 2018; Jönsson and Kojan 2017). In Sweden for example, a temporary law stipulating temporary residence permits and restricted possibilities for family reunion for asylum seekers was implemented in 2016 and extended in 2019 (Gustafsson and Johansson 2018). What impact do such policy changes have on welfare state institutions as well as on professionals and volunteers working inside and outside those institutions? In this context, social workers and other welfare state professionals are increasingly forced to confront the realities of societies in which migration and displacement has become a feature of major significance. In times of austerity and repressive border regimes, social workers, as well as other professionals and civil activists in their daily work experience the consequences of, and sometimes contribute to, current restrictive policies and practices (deportations, temporary residence permit, restrictive family reunification, etc.). While some are involved in the implementation of these repressive measures, others counteract and resist this development, both inside and outside formal welfare state institutions (Turunen and Weinryb 2017). Since welfare state professionals are at the frontlines of migration and social policy implementation, it is important to examine how they relate to contemporary immigration and integration challenges both practically and theoretically. In this panel we will discuss and explore different perspectives on the frontline of policy implementation, where encounters (physically, imaginary, politically, emotionally) take place, and where cultures of integration as well as of exclusion is created. Central questions that will be handled are: How do welfare state institutions, professionals and civil society networks relate to different types of migration and minority experiences and vice versa? How is the tension between migration and social policies that simultaneously aim to integrate minorities and migrants and to deter further entrants handled by welfare state institutions, professionals and civil society networks and in practice? How does civil society networks work as both social resistance and social support systems in relation to especially young migrants’ precarious situations? Grzymala-Kazlowska, A. & Phillimore, J. (2018). Introduction. Rethinking integration. New perspectives on adaptation and settlement in the era of super-diversity. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 44:2, 179-196. Gustafsson, K. & Johansson, J. (2018). A worthy reception? Ambivalences in social work with refugees and migrants in Sweden. Advances in Social Work. 18:3, 983-1004. Jönsson, J. H. & Kojan, B.H. (2017). Social justice beyond neoliberal welfare nationalism: Challenges of increasing immigration to Sweden and Norway. Critical and Radical Social Work. 5:3, 301-317. Turunen, J. & Weinryb, N. (2017). Volontärer i välfärdsstaten – socialt arbete med transitflyktingar som politisk handling. [Volunteers in the welfare state - Social work with trans-refugees as political action]. In: Linde, S. & Scaramuzzino, R. (Eds.). Socialt arbete i civilsamhället:Aktörer, former och funktioner. [Social work in civil society: Actors, shapes and functions]. Lund: Studentlitteratur, 175–200. Three paper presentations are included in the panel so far and the papers are to be commented by an appointed discussant: Kristina Gustafsson, associate professor, Department of Social Work, Linnaeus University and Jesper Johansson, associate professor, Department of Social Work, Linnaeus University: Negotiated Narratives about the Reception of Refugees and Migrants in Sweden Åsa Söderqvist Forkby, senior lecturer, Department of Social Work, Linnaeus University and Torun Elsrud, associate professor, Department of Social Work, Linnaeus University: Social resistance and civil repair following forced migration – an ethnographic study of suffering and resistance among Swedish volunteers and young migrants Peter Hultgren, senior lecturer, Department of Social Work, Linnaeus University: The workings of social cohesion – immigrants’ establishment in the local community The organizers of the panel from Linnaeus University invite other paper authors presenting national or local cases that fits well with the suggested theme of the panel. All paper presenters in the panel have instructions to view their local and national cases in relation to international developments outside Sweden.