we are looking for contributors for our Special Issue themed 'Governing the Poor – Migration and Poverty‘ in the Zeitschrift für Sozialreform/Journal of Social Policy Research. Below you will find the thematic summary and a more specific timeline.
Since the alleged ‘summer of migration’ (Buckel, 2016), the ‘restrictive turn’ of a majority of European states regarding migration policies and law has been acknowledged by a number of scholars (cf. Barker, 2018; De Haas, Natter, & Vezzoli, 2016; Kalir & van Schendel, 2017). This paradigm shift towards an increase of border controls, aims to deport those who are deemed not eligible for asylum or other protection statuses, as well as a focus on criminalisation of migrants and those who support their journeys (see Italy and the introduction of the Salvini Law 2018), does not only or exclusively focus on asylum seekers, not regularised individuals or rejected applicants. Indeed, most recently, several states within Europe have marked their position to ‘make life intolerable’ (Arce, Suárez-Krabbe, & Lindberg, 2018) also for those. who have been living ‘legally’ on the territory, targeting those depending on welfare and social benefits.
The shift from unconditional welfare to conditionality of welfare programs has increased throughout Europe (Barker, 2018 on Sweden; Bonvin & Rosenstein, 2015 on Switzerland). The central aspect of these so-called ‘activation policies’ is that unemployment or social assistance benefits are no longer unconditionally provided but linked to individual, behavioural expectations regarding labour market integration and economic self-sufficiency (C. Stelzer-Orthofer & Weidenholzer, 2013). Scholars still argue about the ideological background of this socio-political shift in Europe, which is however mostly attributed to the implementation of neo-liberal and economical principles (Wyss, 2007; Atzmüller, 2013) and to the “exuberant” welfare state in European countries, which have been politically considered as too costly and in need of re-legitimisation (Lessenich, 2008; Kutzner, 2009; Schallberger & Wyer, 2010). From a normative perspective, it has reinforced the understanding of poverty as an individual problem and not a structural one. Individuals are perceived as “defect” and not employable with respect to the needs of the labour market. Hence, the welfare state needs to invest and create measures, programs and constraints in order to make these individuals employable again (Mäder & Nadai, 2004; Krenn, 2012).
At the same time, welfare states make use of exclusionary measures (e.g. regarding access to the labour market) for migrant individuals, who are deemed undeserving, though forced into dependency of state programs. This ongoing readjustment process, of matching external, e.g. economic, but also individual needs with internal, or political needs of the welfare state, has ambiguous effects on welfare recipients and can be considered as a new source of vulnerability (Spini, Hanappi, Bernardi, Oris, & Bickel, 2013). In the era of ‘activation’, social programs and services provide access to resources but at the same time creating new forms of stress as the participants are subject to constraints and conditions that are stigmatizing. Bonvin & Rosenstein (2015) investigated these intricacies within three Swiss local programs and – among other things – demonstrated how these legitimate a conditional relationship between passive benefits and active labour market policies and in doing so reproduce the juxtaposition of the “passive” versus the “active” citizen or the “worthy” versus the “unworthy” poor.
This special issue aims to study the intersection of migration and poverty, carefully examining how certain policies do not only link the reception of social benefits to a loss of rights (and degradation in residence permit status), but also how they exclude individuals entirely, by establishing systems of minimal welfare and minimum rights (Rosenberger & Küffner, 2016; Schweitzer, 2017) to advance bordering practices, exclusion and causing larger groups to remain in extremely precarious situations (Suárez-Krabbe & Lindberg, 2019), rather than increasing their return to their assumed country of origin.
It is argued that in the absence of criminal offenses, states find new ways of penalising migrant individuals, whose stay is considered as ‘illegal’ or – if legal - burdening. Hence, destitution functions as a bordering practice, in which otherwise ‘regular and legally residing’ migrant individuals are pushed into precarious and legally uncertain situations (Joppke, 1998). This planned destitution, in which welfare becomes a rather discriminating tool of differentiation and exclusion, is strongly linked to biopolitical powers over life and death. Indeed, states make use of policies of abandonment (Davies, Isakjee, & Dhesi, 2017; Kalir & van Schendel, 2017), including wilful neglect, withdrawal of support, and make live and let die (Foucault, 2003). We find politics of exhaustion (De Vries & Welander, 2016; Welander, 2019), e.g. in Denmark, where the Government announced a shift ‘from integration to temporariness, self-sustenance and repatriation’ (Finansministeriet, 2018, p. 6), or in Sweden, where a withdrawal of access to accommodation and daily allowance for rejected asylum seekers was decided. Welfare regimes are thus made to tools of border control and migration control (Valenta & Thorshaug, 2011); fragmented access to social services (Morris, 2003), in which staff faces a dilemma between enforcing fundamental rights and migration law/policy.
This special issue aims for an interdisciplinary take on the intersection of migration and destitution. We invite proposals which have a socio-legal, sociological, anthropological or political science perspective; make use of innovative data, such as ethnographies of the state or develop new theoretical perspective of how to understand and study the welfare state through a critical perspective.
We would like to encourage a more thorough analysis of street-level bureaucrats’(Lipsky, 1980) and street-level workers’ (Brodkin, 2011; Kalir & Wissink, 2016) framings regarding their role and tasks, within the realm of ever more restrictive welfare policies towards migrant individuals. Complimentary perspectives might include the experiences of migrant individuals, who are the target of ambiguous welfare policies. Further, we encourage submissions which have socio-legal perspectives and critically examine recent laws and regulations comparatively, historically and regarding the real-life outcome for migrants.
There will be a workshop held at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, on December 5th, 2019. Accommodation and travel costs will be covered. This first selection does not guarantee the final publication, which will be decided through aregular double-blind peer review process. First drafts have to be handed in to the guest editors by November 22nd. During the workshop you will receive comments by the guest editors, as well as by fellow participants. A revised draft will then be handed to the journal by the end of January 2020. The issue will be published in December 2020.
For detailed information regarding the format, please have a look here: https://www.degruyter.com/view/supplement/s23660295_Instructions_for_authors.pdf
Articles should not exceed 72,000 characters including spaces (abstract, keywords, text, footnotes, references).
Please circulate this call and do send us your abstracts of about max. 250 words, as well as short bio until July 14th to [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> and [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>.
We are looking forward to your contributions and please do not hesitate to contact us if your have further questions.
Lisa and Yann
Be green, keep it on the screen
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