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Among "other" Citizens: Denizens and Anti-citizens - a Study of Exclusion of Undocumented Migrants at three Authorities in Helsingborg Municipality

Fagerberg, Maria and Espmarker, Anna (2008)
School of Social Work
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to expand the debate on undocumented migrants' social rights from a theoretical perspective emphasizing social and political practices of inclusion and exclusion. We examine how processes of exploitation and stigmatization contribute to a categorization and positioning of undocumented migrants as non-citizens. We explore this in a dialogue with three authorities working with migrants in Helsingborg. The bachelor thesis also aims to illuminate how the unequal categorization is justified, within the organization of an authority.

The theoretical perspectives present a framework allowing us to discuss power relations and the process of positioning undocumented migrants as "the others". We highlight how different... (More)
The aim of this paper is to expand the debate on undocumented migrants' social rights from a theoretical perspective emphasizing social and political practices of inclusion and exclusion. We examine how processes of exploitation and stigmatization contribute to a categorization and positioning of undocumented migrants as non-citizens. We explore this in a dialogue with three authorities working with migrants in Helsingborg. The bachelor thesis also aims to illuminate how the unequal categorization is justified, within the organization of an authority.

The theoretical perspectives present a framework allowing us to discuss power relations and the process of positioning undocumented migrants as "the others". We highlight how different mechanisms exclude and include undocumented migrants in relation to the concept of citizenship.

We used vignette cases as a method to lead our interview persons into a group discussion about undocumented migrants, a phenomenon commonly perceived as invisible. The aim is that the vignette should be as connected to reality as possible, thus we focus on real praxis, court proceedings and jurisdictions in the construction of the cases.

We outline hegemonic discourses of how the authorities discuss the position of undocumented migrants. We examine how social rights depend on the positioning of undocumented migrants. In the Social Service Act, it is stated that the municipality has got the outmost responsibility for persons staying there. It seems to be crucial that the physical person staying in a specific municipality has a couple of legal attributes confirming her/his right to be present, to be eligible for social assistance. A legal attribute could be a residence permit or a passport with a Swedish civic registration number. We do also examine how the authorities discuss the position of undocumented migrants in relation to housing, temporarily residence permit and to themselves as professional social workers.

We conclude that the process to get an 'il/legal' status is not linear and involves moments of inclusion and exclusion from rights. There is a scale of different degrees of exclusion which conditions social rights not only for undocumented migrants, but also for migrants with temporarily and permanent residence permit. The authorities interviewed reproduce the position of undocumented migrants as non-citizens or as anti-citizens. They maintain a discourse of "illegality" that in visualise the situation of undocumented migrants and position them as "illegal". (Less)
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author
Fagerberg, Maria and Espmarker, Anna
supervisor
organization
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Undocumented Migrants, Citizenship, Illegality, Authorities, Exclusion, Social sciences, Samhällsvetenskaper, Social changes, theory of social work, Sociala förändringar, teorier om socialt arbete
language
English
id
1320337
date added to LUP
2008-04-15
date last changed
2008-04-15
@misc{1320337,
  abstract     = {The aim of this paper is to expand the debate on undocumented migrants' social rights from a theoretical perspective emphasizing social and political practices of inclusion and exclusion. We examine how processes of exploitation and stigmatization contribute to a categorization and positioning of undocumented migrants as non-citizens. We explore this in a dialogue with three authorities working with migrants in Helsingborg. The bachelor thesis also aims to illuminate how the unequal categorization is justified, within the organization of an authority.

The theoretical perspectives present a framework allowing us to discuss power relations and the process of positioning undocumented migrants as "the others". We highlight how different mechanisms exclude and include undocumented migrants in relation to the concept of citizenship.

We used vignette cases as a method to lead our interview persons into a group discussion about undocumented migrants, a phenomenon commonly perceived as invisible. The aim is that the vignette should be as connected to reality as possible, thus we focus on real praxis, court proceedings and jurisdictions in the construction of the cases.

We outline hegemonic discourses of how the authorities discuss the position of undocumented migrants. We examine how social rights depend on the positioning of undocumented migrants. In the Social Service Act, it is stated that the municipality has got the outmost responsibility for persons staying there. It seems to be crucial that the physical person staying in a specific municipality has a couple of legal attributes confirming her/his right to be present, to be eligible for social assistance. A legal attribute could be a residence permit or a passport with a Swedish civic registration number. We do also examine how the authorities discuss the position of undocumented migrants in relation to housing, temporarily residence permit and to themselves as professional social workers.

We conclude that the process to get an 'il/legal' status is not linear and involves moments of inclusion and exclusion from rights. There is a scale of different degrees of exclusion which conditions social rights not only for undocumented migrants, but also for migrants with temporarily and permanent residence permit. The authorities interviewed reproduce the position of undocumented migrants as non-citizens or as anti-citizens. They maintain a discourse of "illegality" that in visualise the situation of undocumented migrants and position them as "illegal".},
  author       = {Fagerberg, Maria and Espmarker, Anna},
  keyword      = {Undocumented Migrants,Citizenship,Illegality,Authorities,Exclusion,Social sciences,Samhällsvetenskaper,Social changes, theory of social work,Sociala förändringar, teorier om socialt arbete},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Among "other" Citizens: Denizens and Anti-citizens - a Study of Exclusion of Undocumented Migrants at three Authorities in Helsingborg Municipality},
  year         = {2008},
}