Social work and migration started in 2015 as a collaborative forum for researchers and teachers at the department of social work interested in and responding to ongoing and increasing migration processes. The participants' study processes related to the political, ideological and regulative circumstances that provide limits, challenges, and opportunities for social work in a society characterised and influenced by migration movements. They also seek to understand working conditions, values and experiences among various categories of social workers dealing with migration issues, and with people affected by forced or voluntary migration. Not least, they gather knowledge about the consequences of social work policy and practice for migrants and the society as a whole.
In doing so, the participants in Social work and migration are involved in several activities related to research, teaching and collaboration with researchers/research groups, in both national and international contexts as well as local communities and NGOs.
Project: A worthy reception? Social work with of refugees and migrants. Asylum reception is characterized by rapidly changing conditions as well as by a complex structure of receiving actors and instit…
Project: Communication with non-Swedish speaking clients and patients The purpose of the study is to map how primary care and social services staff handle communication with patients who have difficult…
Project: Generating hope and dealing with uncertainty: An ethnographic study of the social dimensions of hope in the Swedish asylum-seeking context This project will study issues of hope and uncertaint…
Project: Migration experience and religion as resource. An ethnographic study. I study how the migratory experience is mirrored in Sunday services in a Nigerian pentecostal congregation in Malmö, Swede…
Project: Narratives as cultural heritage. Power and resistance in collections of narratives from and about immigrants at the archive of Nordic Museum 1970-2015 This project investigates how memory inst…
Project: Social wounds and civil repair following forced migration – a case study of narratives of suffering, ethics and morals among Swedish volunteers, social workers and young migrants
- Anders Lundberg Senior lecturer
- Åsa Söderqvist Associate senior lecturer
- Helene Jacobson Pettersson Senior Lecturer
- Jesper Johansson Senior lecturer
- Kristina Gustafsson Associate Professor
- Leonie Dapi Nzefa Senior lecturer
- Lindita Aliti Doctoral student
- Torun Elsrud Associate Professor
Besides contributing by adding migration perspectives to several courses at the Social Work Study Programme and in some advanced courses at Linnaeus University, the group has developed the master course Social work in the age of migration. By offering a multitude of perspectives on migration and citizenship in pluralistic societies, one aim of the course is to provide students with a spectrum of theoretical and analytical tools to increase their ability to assess critically and analyse different structural conditions that shape global migration patterns, including discourses that frame the understanding of migratory movements. Another aim is to allow the students to explore and learn more about social work practices and the character of the institutions operating in a migration context.
Learn more on social work and migration
Migration has always been a central feature of human history and has shaped the world history at different scales and levels. Throughout history, until the present, migration has commonly been defined either as a problem or a solution to issues of order and (in)stability in global and national contexts. The effects of migration do not only concern the life trajectories of individuals, but they also impinge on politics of nationhood, belonging and identity in a world structured by inequalities, oppression and dominance. Thus, migration poses various challenges as welfare states deal with integration policies and modes of incorporating immigrants into their countries of settlement. Likewise, migration calls into question ideas about belonging: who belongs where and who is entitled to making claims on rights and benefits. In the meantime, in West European contexts, migrant integration is often discussed in terms of "security challenges", "welfare erosion", and incompatible cultural differences. This situation draws our attention to a number of issues related to societal and institutional power, inclusion, exclusion, and integration as well as individual and social empowerment, agency and belonging from the perspective of migrants.
Since social work constitutes an important sector of many West European welfare systems, social workers are often given a frontline position in implementing integration and immigrant policies. As the leading social work scholar Walter Lorenz has insisted, the ways refugees or migrants are dealt with in a particular society "expose the prevailing rationale for the existence of boundaries of belonging, social responsibility and the conditions of citizenship". Relatedly, social workers can be important actors in supporting the citizenship status and rights of migrants and challenge the exclusionary forces of citizenship that migrants face. Since social workers are at the front line of social policy implementation, it is important to examine and assess their views of migrants, cultural diversity and refugee reception in order to identify how the representatives of the social work profession contribute to inclusion and exclusion in a society marked by diversity. Clearly, their ways of dealing with these issues will affect migrants' experiences of integration and interaction within the Swedish society, their feelings of belonging, security and trust in the Swedish welfare system and society. The research and teaching group Social work and migration at Linnaeus University addresses all these areas of enquiry in their activities.
Collaboration projects with local communities
Småland som spelplats för världens flyktingmottagande 2016–2018 is a project that we initiated in 2016. We have begun collecting and analysing data about the contemporary reception of refugees. The project is conducted in collaboration between the department of social work, Linnaeus University; the department of cultural studies, Linnaeus University; Kalmar länsmuseum; Smålands kulturpark; the Linnaeus University Centre Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies and the County administrative boards of Kronoberg and Kalmar.
Our research group works in collaboration with the Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies and are taking part in the Nordic colonialism cluster.
We also collaborate with researchers at Center for cultural sociology (CCS) at Linnaeus University.
During autumn of 2016 professor Mathew J Gibney was a guest professor at the department of social work. During his stay here, we arranged a program of lectures and workshops with particular focus on asylum, citizenship and the reception of refugees in Western European countries. Our research collaboration with professor Gibney continues.