‘Victims of Trafficking’ and ‘Foreign Criminals’ – Constructing the state as our (masculine) saviour

By: Luke de Noronha, DPhil Candidate in Anthropology (COMPAS), University of Oxford

This post is part of the joint blog series on ‘Gender and Migration’ co-hosted by Border Criminologies and COMPAS. Posts of this series will be published in both blogs every Friday until the end of June.

Photo by Pawel O'Brien, COMPAS Photo Competition 2010

Photo by Pawel O’Brien, COMPAS Photo Competition 2010

Some people who live outside of their country of origin don’t really count as migrants. They might be expats; they might not be named at all. But Australian backpackers, French nannies, and international bankers are not really what we mean when we talk about migrants. If, however, you are the kind of person we mean when we talk about the migrant – i.e. you are racialised and/or poor – then you are generally portrayed as either a victim or a villain. Migrants are constructed as victims and villains by a range of actors (i.e. institutions of the state, journalists, politicians, judges, migrant advocates, and academics).

Gender and race are central to determining who goes where within this framework. In my work on ‘foreign criminals’, I examine the mechanics of gender and race in producing villains. ‘Foreign criminals’ have attracted much media and political interest in recent years; they are discursively constructed as racialised men who commit acts of hypermasculinist violence, often sexual, thus imperilling ‘our’ streets and, importantly, ‘our’ women. This construction of the ‘foreign criminal’ as a monstrous villain works to justify, on moral grounds, policies of imprisonment, indefinite detention, and deportation.

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Posted in Flows and Dynamics, human rights, immigration, migration, research, trafficking | Leave a comment

What do we know about the reasons for migration and the social and economic characteristics of migrants in the UK?

By: Ben Gidley, Associate Professor and Senior Researcher

The March COMPAS Breakfast Briefing was presented by Jon Simmons, who leads the migration research at the UK Home Office. He presented three important recent Home Office Science reports on migrants into the UK.

Skills and employment

Photo by Marek Olszewski, COMPAS Photo Competition 2014

Photo by Marek Olszewski, COMPAS Photo Competition 2014

The first report, Employment and occupational skill levels among UK and foreign nationals (published last February), provides valuable insights into migrants and non-migrants in the jobs market. Based on Labour Force Survey (LFS) data – analysed by nationality, rather than country of birth, because the former affects right to work – the report shows trends in the labour market in the recent period.

For example, the analysis shows that after a long period of rising employment in the late 1990s and early 2000s that mainly benefited UK nationals, after EU8 accession the rise in employment continued to rise but with three quarters of this now accounted for by foreign nationals. Before EU8 accession, there had been a big gap between the employment rate of UK nationals and foreign nationals; this gap shrunk after accession. When the recession hit, employment dropped steeply among UK nationals rather than foreign workers – but during the recovery UK nationals have accounted for a new rise in employment rates.

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Posted in event, immigration, integration, labour markets, migration, policy, research | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Migrant Women’s Health in Spain: A Snapshot of the Consequences of the Royal Decree-Law of Sanitary Regulation 16/2012

By: Ana Ballesteros Pena and Anna Morero Beltrán, COPOLIS Welfare, Community and Social Control Research Group, University of Barcelona. In this post, the authors summarise their new article ‘The consequences of the implementation of the Royal Decree-Law of sanitary regulation RD 16/2012 on migrant women’s health.’

This post is part of the joint blog series on ‘Gender and Migration’ co-hosted by Border Criminologies and COMPAS. Posts of this series will be published in both blogs every Friday until the end of June.

a protest in valencia

A protest in Valencia, Spain, against the implementation of RD 16/2012, with the husband of Soledad Torrico Vallejos, a woman from Bolivia who died because she didn’t receive appropriate health care. (Photo: Eduardo Luzzatti)

In a previous blog post, we provided some examples of the tightening of public policies by the Spanish government targeted towards migrants undertaken in recent years. Here, we would like to summarize the main ideas of our recently published article in which we analyze the consequences of the Royal Law-Decree 16/2012 for Sanitary Regulation (hereinafter, RDL 16/2012) on the health of migrant women. This piece of legislation denies immigrants in irregular administrative conditions access to health care and preventive services, as it only guarantees free emergency health care in cases of pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum, and to immigrants under 18 years of age. The rest of the irregular immigrant population are excluded from health care, hitherto free and accessible to everyone residing in Spain. This has created what human rights organizations have called ‘medical apartheid,’ resulting in a set of violations, including deaths, of the right to health care in Spain.

With regards to immigrant women and health care, some studies highlight the barriers which these women have to face in order to achieve an adequate access to health care services, irrespective of their administrative situation, such as differing conceptions of illness and health, the persistence of prejudices and racist attitudes, and linguistic obstacles or bureaucratic red tape―hindrances that are deteriorating within the framework of the new regulation.

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Posted in human rights, migration, Welfare | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Studying Mobility in a Context of Immobility

By: Kareem Rabie, Senior Researcher and Marie Curie Fellow

Hilary 2015 seminar poster-smallThis term, Dace Dzenovska, Nick Van Hear, and Ben Gidley have organized events around the themes of “shifting powers” and shifting mobilities.” Themes that build upon last term’s sited, urban focus to questions of shifting spatial and political dynamics in “arrival cities.” The central questions they ask are about geopolitical shifts in power, and in social and spatial forms of mobility; and the three are working towards a research agenda on migration attentive to wider contexts of geopolitics and geoeconomics.

As the Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow at COMPAS, I’ve been thinking with and across migration studies. As an anthropologist and human geographer working in Palestine and Israel, the question becomes less about mobility as a general phenomenon, but what it means to talk about mobility in a context of immobility. How specifically is it enabled and disabled? Where, for whom, for what, and at what geographical scale? In an environment that seems at different times, in different places, and at different scales, to be either highly malleable or completely static and circumscribed (not to mention for different authors), what does movement mean?

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The messiness of research: My experience as a young female researcher at an Italian migrant detention centre

This post is part of the joint blog series on ‘Gender and Migration’ co-hosted by Border Criminologies and COMPAS. Posts in this series will be published in both blogs every Friday until the end of June.

By: Francesca Esposito, Doctoral Candidate in Community Psychology, ISPA-University Institute, Lisbon.

Detainees behind bar fences at Ponte Galeria, Rome’s Center for Identification and Expulsion (Photo: F. Esposito)

Detainees behind bar fences at Ponte Galeria, Rome’s Center for Identification and Expulsion (Photo: F. Esposito)

Incorporating a feminist perspective, many community psychology scholars have stressed the importance of adopting a reflexive practice based on the sharing of how we conduct our work in different contexts with diverse participants/collaborators, and how our own personal histories, values, and social statuses have an impact on the research process and outcomes. As Mulvey and colleagues highlight, these ‘messy accounts’ may help reveal whether and how our work is able to challenge power relations and inequalities, especially when we’re working with marginalized groups.

For me, reflexivity has been a necessary tool to navigate the complexity of my messy research work within Ponte Galeria, Rome’s Center for Identification and Expulsion (CIE), the main migration-related detention center in Italy. The tensions and vulnerabilities I was experiencing began to acquire meaning, revealing of the research process and its intrinsic power imbalances. Messiness, which should not be associated with noise, as articulated recently by Edison Trickett and colleagues, became a guideline.

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Posted in human rights, immigration, journey, migration, research | Tagged , | Leave a comment