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The dispersal and social exclusion of asylum seekers

The dispersal and social exclusion of asylum seekers: Between liminality and belonging

Patricia Hynes
Copyright Date: 2011
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  • Book Info
    The dispersal and social exclusion of asylum seekers
    Book Description:

    This book establishes asylum seekers as a socially excluded group, investigating the policy of dispersing asylum seekers across the UK and providing an overview of historic and contemporary dispersal systems. It is the first book to seek to understand how asylum seekers experience the dispersal system and the impact this has on their lives. The author argues that deterrent asylum policies increase the sense of liminality experienced by individuals, challenges assumptions that asylum seekers should be socially excluded until receipt of refugee status and illustrates how they create their own sense of 'belonging' in the absence of official recognition. Academics, students, policy-makers and practitioners would all benefit from reading this book.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-327-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of boxes, figures and tables
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. List of abbreviations
    (pp. viii-ix)
  5. Glossary
    (pp. x-xi)
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xii-xii)
  7. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    Patricia Hynes
  8. ONE Social exclusion and refugees
    (pp. 1-24)

    Refugees flee persecution to avoid death or torture and represent a small proportion of the total number of migrants in the world. Most flee into neighbouring countries where they may live in makeshift camps for several decades at a time, rarely commanding the attention of the international media. Alternatively, some attempt often arduous journeys in search of asylum in traditional resettlement recipient countries of North America, Europe and Australia.

    Proportionately, the number of refugees reaching these countries is low. Asylum policies from these countries continue to emphasise containment in regions of origin and by drawing up legislation, regulations and policies...

  9. TWO Key terms and concepts
    (pp. 25-42)

    There are several key terms used in debates about asylum in the UK that need discussion as they are often ambiguous, contested and have different meanings dependent on who is using them. This chapter begins by outlining how these terms – ‘integration’, ‘resettlement’, ‘belonging’, ‘social inclusion’, ‘social cohesion’ and ‘community cohesion’ – are used throughout this book.

    Thereafter, a number of key concepts that are central to the arguments, in particular the notion of ‘burden-sharing’, liminality and trust, are explored. The literature on forced migration already relates the concepts of ‘liminality’ and ‘trust’ to refugees in camps. Social exclusion of...

  10. THREE Dispersal
    (pp. 43-70)

    In the previous chapters we saw how the legislative and policy framework has contributed to the social exclusion of asylum seekers. The history of dispersing refugees across the UK was also examined and it was suggested that the contemporary dispersal of asylum seekers is taking place within a qualitatively new environment that has emerged since the mid-1990s and been manifest through several Acts of Parliament. The exclusionary processes resulting specifically from the introduction, structure and implementation of dispersal are the main topics of this chapter. It is suggested that there was an in-built element of deterrence in the design of...

  11. FOUR The evolution and geography of dispersal
    (pp. 71-92)

    Key design principles of dispersal that may have made the policy more user-friendly were abandoned or unfulfilled early in its implementation. One of these principles was the idea of ‘clustering’ asylum seekers according to their language groups or nationality. There was also a shift from dispersing asylum seekers individually – or in official terms ‘self-write’¹ – to dispersal by group. Maybe most importantly, suggestions made during the design stage to ensure that asylum seekers were not placed in areas of multiple deprivation were also disregarded. This, and other design elements that may have made the lives of asylum seekers less...

  12. FIVE The process and experience of dispersal
    (pp. 93-126)

    ‘We have our roots in our hands. We carry them from place to place. Then we put them down and have to pull them out again. You are waiting for life for years. You have no rights to define what you do.’¹

    It has already been argued that social exclusion of asylum seekers occurs due to the structure for implementation and geography of dispersal. This chapter begins an exploration of the lived experiences of asylum seekers andprocessesof social exclusion resulting from their dispersal and claims for asylum. Each phase of the dispersal system is outlined using qualitative data...

  13. SIX Access to services
    (pp. 127-154)

    Dispersal away from London and the South East brought with it questions around access to legal representation, language support, housing, medical care, education, training and employment (Audit Commission, 2000a). This chapter looks at access to services, demonstrating how temporary access to services added to the liminal experience of asylum seekers. The changing entitlements of asylum seekers since the early 1990s are outlined, highlighting how the power to define who can access welfare and other services is now based on legal status. The obligations of agencies contracted to the Home Office to facilitate access to services are explored using qualitative data...

  14. SEVEN Social networks and belonging
    (pp. 155-182)

    ‘Most importantly, as a human, you are a social creature, so you have to have social networks in order to feel human. Because the immigration law already makes you dehuman anyway. So you have to have people around you to make you feel that you are still human even though the Home Office do not accept that.’¹

    ‘Refugees are forced to lay bare the scars of their victimhood even if they just want to find work and have a normal life.’²

    ‘My life is like a jigsaw. Now I need to find new pieces.’³

    This chapter explores the social networks...

  15. EIGHT Conclusions
    (pp. 183-198)

    On a Sunday morning in March 2010, the bodies of a family were found at the bottom of a 31-storey tower block in Glasgow. This family were asylum seekers who had just received a negative decision from the UKBA and were, at the time, accommodated by the YMCA in this tower block pending the outcome of their RSD process. Robina Qureshi’s statement relating to these deaths confronted the daily realities of asylum seekers moving through this process and her press release detailed how it had become normal to find people in her office talking about ending their lives rather than...

  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 199-220)
  17. Index
    (pp. 221-226)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 227-227)