Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN16_RN35_11a_P_JS: JOINT SESSION: Migrations and Health Inequalities in Europe
Friday, 01/Sep/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Location: PC.3.17
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 3.
Joint Session of RN16 Sociology of Health and Illness and RN35 Sociology of Migration

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”…and what ends up happening is that we end up lying” Palliative Care Workers talk about Cross-cultural Interaction

Pernilla Ågård, Sandra Torres

Uppsala University, Sweden

The social-constructionist perspective argues that language sets the framework for how we perceive the world around us. In interacting with others we negotiate the characteristics that we ascribe to different categories. This presentation departs from research showing that ‘Othering’ processes to could lead up to inequalities in health care. It is namely through these processes that people are reduced to a few stereotypic characteristics. This presentation aims focuses therefore on how end-of-life care workers discuss cross-cultural care interactions with patients categorized as migrants and the ways in which stereotypes about them are formulated.

Through focus group interviews with end-of-life care workers in Sweden (n=60) this presentation explores how end-of-life care workers negotiate, refute and compromise their understandings of cross-cultural interaction in talk and how assumptions about ethnic 'Others' are the backdrop against which they formulate their views on this type of interaction. Findings show that the end-of-life care workers interviewed often regard cross-cultural interaction as challenging since these patients are assumed not only to have needs that differ from ‘ordinary patients’ but needs that could collide with some of the core values of the Swedish health care legislation. As such, the study contributes to research on cross-cultural care interactions and brings attention to the ‘Othering’ processes that take place amongst co-workers in care settings.

From expats to precarity. Migrant women and health care in the context of pregnancy and birth.

Alena Parizkova

University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Czech Republic

Pregnancy and birth are important situation influencing maternal health and simultaneously are influenced by women’s context and circumstances. Our research focuses on maternal health of migrant women in the Czech Republic. We are interested in women’s expectations, experiences and in the context of their pregnancy and birth stories. We conducted interviews with migrant mothers and workers from helping professions, namely social workers, midwives and psychologist, who have worked with migrant women. In the presentation we will show how the intersection of legal statuses, conditions of employment and protective policies shape the position of migrant women when dealing with the need of health care during pregnancy and birth. Precarious status influence access to the health care and brings various challenges for migrant women, such as higher expenses, bureaucratic obstacles, uncertainty and stress. A significant topic is the health insurance system, which affects the access to the health care not only for the mother but also for a child.

“We are obliged to provide UAMs with special care” – Negotiating between Vulnerability, Autonomy and Identity in Malta

Laura Kristina Otto

University of Bremen, Germany

25% of arriving refugees in Malta are classified as UAMs following age assessment. Consequently, they are placed under the Refugee Act and a Care Order, receiving general refugee and specialized services for UAMs, the latter being perceived as particularly vulnerable and thus housed in special homes. My research, based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2013-2016 includes interviews with refugee and non-refugee actors. The research relationship with the young refugees can be described as long-term and collaborative. By analysing the situation within these homes —where age disputes occur beyond the formal age assessment procedure between refugees and institutional staff— from a postcolonial and intersectional point of view, Western notions of childhood can be made visible and investigated. The young refugees feel pressured, insecure and under surveillance. Thus, the home, formally established to protect vulnerable people, becomes a place of new insecurities, distrust and exclusion for UAMs. In this setting, help and vulnerability are negotiated, extending supportive practices beyond the mere legal frameworks in place. Both refugee and non-refugee actors developed support practices there, but unmake them at the same time. The focus on the practices developed by young refugees in these homes illuminates the extent to which they can be understood as subjects acting with agency. I argue that borders are not merely locatable and fixed on a map, but rather unfixed, non-permanent and malleable. These can be described as (social) boundaries that exist in dividing between the in- and outside. The perpetuated age disputes thus contribute to producing these social boundaries.

Effects of ethnic group density on young migrants' health and health behaviour

Matthias Robert Kern

University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Throughout the 20th century and the beginning of the current one there has been a drastic increase in ethnic diversity in many European societies.

From a sociology of health perspective these developments pose the question of how processes of acculturation, and with it levels of acculturative stress, often seen as responsible for many of the adverse health effects of migration, are altered if the standard assumption of an allochthonous ethnic minority acculturating to the ways of an autochthonous ethnic majority is violated. The ethnic density hypothesis suggests that an increase in own ethnic group density or overall ethnic minority density, through facilitating social support networks among co-ethnics, decreasing the rates and altering the perception of incidences of interpersonal racism and lowering the gap between acculturation and ecology can have a buffering effect on the adverse health effects of migrant status. This contribution, relying on data from the 2013-14 wave of the Luxembourgish Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study, investigates the relationship between young migrants’ health and health behaviour and ethnic density in school classes. School classes, as an essential part of school-students’ immediate social environment, constitute an important acculturation context. At the same time, Luxembourg, as one of the most diverse countries in Europe, where almost two thirds of school-aged children have a migration background and only roughly 17% of first- and second-generation migrants attend classes with a native majority, presents itself as the ideal national context to explore the implications of increasing levels of ethnic diversity for migrant health and, due to its high variance in ethnic density between classes, offers enough statistical power to detect the sketched potential moderating effects.

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