Welcome to Migration seminar


Erica Righard, Associate Professor, Malmö University


Welfare states, and their social services are not only bordered by territorial borders, but also by bordering practices from within. The trade-off between the control of territorial borders and the bordering of welfare services is highly politicized and has developed in diverging ways in different national contexts. Sweden has often been depicted as a country with an inclusive migrant integration regime. However, in the aftermath of the 2015 access to social services is going through some radical re-borderings for refugees and their families. This development is usually studied from a rights-based refugee migration perspective, often based in overly optimistic understandings of the ‘good’ nature of social work. Contrastingly, here I approach it from a critical social work perspective. Moreover, while these rather recent developments point to the multilevel dynamics of welfare bordering practices towards refugees, I shall also regard this dynamic in a historical perspective.

The empirical focus on refugees regards refugees during the asylum process and just after international protection has been granted (or rejected). A central concept in the analysis is hemortsrätt, which is sometimes translated to ‘local connection’. It refers to how access to poverty relief was regulated, and stipulates that the needy should turn to their ‘home-parish’ (or municipality), where they have their local connection, for poor relief. What makes refugees a particular case is that as humanitarian migrants they are ‘deserving’ of social assistance, at the same time they have no ‘local connection’. The analysis responds to questions about how spatial, scalar and temporal aspects of social responsibility for refugees have changed over time. Particularly the emergence of new categorisations is of interest to the analysis, not least when such (often administrative) categorisations determine access to social assistance.

The seminar will be held in English and via Zoom.

To the seminar in Zoom

Meeting ID: 660 7160 9788
Passcode: 436692