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Session Overview
RN35_06b: Migration, Social Justice, and Social Inclusion
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Rina Manuela Contini, University of Chieti-Pescara
Location: BS.G.27
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Ground Floor Oxford Road

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Ageing Immigrancy as a Category of Residual Inclusion –The Finnish Third Sector Organizations Standing in for the Public Welfare Services

Ulla Buchert

University of Helsinki, Finland

Diversity of the ageing population is increasing also in Finland. Older people have increasingly diverse language skills, cultural, religious and educational backgrounds, family situations, pensions etc. However, the public health and social services have not been developed accordingly so far. Instead, the state funds the third sector organizations to develop separate support services for people called ageing immigrants.

Theoretical background of the research is based on theories regarding incorporation of people to the public welfare service systems as well as institutional categories and classification.

The research questions are: How the institutional category of ageing immigrancy is used by the third sector organisations to promote incorporation of people to the public welfare services? How use of the category affects incorporation in the short- and long-term?

Data of the research consists of thematic interviews of employees of the Finnish third sector organizations organizing support services for people called ageing immigrants. The data is analysed by using theory-oriented content analysis.

The research demonstrates that the institutional category of ageing immigrancy is used to promote incorporation both by supporting people in service use and by reminding the services about equal treatment. However, the research points out that use of the category, which enables recognition of people in need presently, generates in the long-term construction of both a group called ageing immigrants and separate service use procedures. This in turn enables the public welfare services to reject more thorough reformations, in other words to settle for residual inclusion.

Migrant Advocacy Under Austerity: Transforming Solidarity in The Greek Refugee

Katherine Laura Pendakis

King's College University, Canada

This paper explores the structural convergence of economic austerity and the 2015 influx of refugees into the Northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. It is based on interviews with young Greek activists who came of age and were politicized during the early years of the economic crisis, established relations with migrant populations in the process, and have —since 2015—been employed in the emerging refugee regime. I examine the implications of moving from activist networks to formal employment in local NGOs for (i) the kinds of solidaristic relations formed between local Greeks and foreign migrants, (ii) the moral and political identities and projects of those who become absorbed in the regime as paid employees and (iii) the solidarity networks that activists leave behind. My argument is twofold: First, that the conversion of non-hierarchical solidarity networks into cultural capital results in the depoliticization of relations between young Greeks and foreign migrants; Second, that the newly employed engage in identifiable forms of ‘boundary work’ and justification to establish a compelling line of continuity with their left-wing identity and their politicized commitment to migrants. This research contributes to our understanding of the difficult and necessary labour involved in social justice advocacy during a period of rising xenophobia and radical nationalism in Europe. It also offers important ethnographic and theoretical insights into the local impacts of emerging refugee regimes in contexts of protracted economic crisis and austerity.

Keywords: Greece, migrants, refugees, solidarity, austerity, cultural sociology

Personal Networks, Social Support and Upward Mobility among Roma Migrants in France

David Cañarte1, Raffaele Vacca1, Tommaso Vitale2

1Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law, University of Florida, United States of America; 2Centre d’études européennes, Sciences Po, France

Social support has long been studied as an important aspect of social inclusion, sense of belonging, and integration in primary and secondary groups, as well as a social determinant of individual health and well-being. However, scholars in the social and health sciences have typically examined structures and mechanisms of social support in the general population, while research on the topic has been more limited in immigrant communities, particularly in hard-to-reach and marginalized populations like Roma migrants in Europe. This study analyzes uniquely rich survey data on personal networks and migration trajectories to examine determinants and patterns of social support among Romanian Roma migrants experiencing upward social mobility in France. Using hierarchical logistic and negative binomial regression for personal network data, we investigate the characteristics of migrants (i.e., the potential support recipients), their social contacts (i.e., the potential support providers), and personal networks (i.e., social contexts) that are associated with the provision, variety and intensity of social support. We consider different dimensions of social support, including instrumental aid, emotional support, companionship, financial help, and informational support. Furthermore, we distinguish between specialized support (limited to one of these dimensions) and multiplex support (spanning multiple dimensions). Findings suggest that Roma migrants who experience upward social mobility in France are more likely to receive support from contacts who are female, geographically close, older, non-coethnic, and part of their family. We discuss the policy implications of these results and their significance for the study of social support, immigrant incorporation, and transnational practices in immigrant communities.

Asylum Seekers and the Context of Their Housing: Different Places, Different Integration Outcomes?

Lina Elisabeth Sandström

Örebro University, Sweden

In Sweden, asylum seekers can either live in accommodation offered by the Migration Agency (ABO) or they can find their own accommodation (EBO). Ever since the option to choose was introduced in 1994, EBO has been a contentious topic. One common criticism is that it is detrimental to refugee integration as it often entails staying with relatives living in ethnically segregated urban areas. Two crucial aspects are usually missing from these discussions. The first is a clear definition of what is meant by integration and the second is a closer examination of the integration prospects of the alternative: ABO is typically found in isolated rural areas with integration issues of their own. Based on material from a qualitative interview study with Syrian asylum seekers and other key informants, this paper attempts to rectify some of these shortcomings. The interviews were conducted in two locations where either EBO or ABO is the dominant form of housing. Using Ager and Strang’s (2008) integration model as an analytical tool, it reveals some noteworthy differences between the two locations. Amongst other things, the participants view and value social connections with both other Syrians and Swedish people differently. It is less clear, however, whether these differences should be understood in terms of integration in the classical, Durkheimian, sense of the word. In fact, the paper concludes that there is a danger in doing so as it may divert attention away from structural inequalities and result in blaming refugees for choosing not to ‘fit in’.

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