Social work research on migration and asylum

Governments in developed countries face the challenge of managing diversity related to migratory processes. Many questions arise though: How to build up integrative societies? What is the response of welfare states in the reception of migrants and refugees - particularly in a context of redefinition of the concept of welfare? To what extent are the human rights of migrants and refugees respected? In the EU context some steps have been taken to define a common immigration, a common European asylum system and also a framework for a common integration policy. However, the so called “refugee crisis” erupting in summer 2016 put the whole system at stake. To make things worse, xenophobic attitudes and opinions have become more and more generalised amongst public opinion leaders and politicians. Social workers are called to play an important role in this framework, not only by providing proper information to users, by mediating in intercultural conflicts or by denouncing violations in Human Rights, but also by collecting relevant information regarding the effectiveness of active integration policies or the emergence of racist behaviours. It is not casual that one of the priorities of the Directorate General for Research and Innovation is precisely research on migration and asylum, as was highlighted in a conference hosted by this DG in Brussels in 5th and 6th February 2016. Research on this field is not new: Dominelli (2008) , Dominelli & Moosa Mitha (2014), Reichert (2011) or Dean (2015) amongst others have reflected on aspects related to immigration, integration, citizenship and the response of welfare policies.

This Special Interest Group seeks to share common intuitions, questions and answers regarding integration processes in multicultural societies, but also aims at networking and collaborating in common research initiatives susceptible to be funded by the EU or other actors.

Aims of the Special Interest Group

1. Identify, explore, evaluate and compare international responses to migration and asylum in the context of the different integration models.
2. Develop innovative and shared approaches to analysing social work in migration and asylum.
3. Inform, synthesise and critically analyse contemporary global narratives and discourses about integration, welcoming societies, conditionality and rights of migrants and refugees.
4. Establish a platform to present and share knowledge and learning which contributes to a better understanding of the purpose of social work and the advancement of social justice and community wellbeing.

Jose Gomez Ciriano (PhD), Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha;
Elena Cabiati, Associate professor, Catholic University of Milan, Italy;
Sofia Dedotsi (PhD), University of West Attica, Greece