The Management of Oppression: Focussing on relationships between refugees and the British state in Newcastle upon Tyne

"This thesis uses an empirically informed Marxist analysis to investigate the role of interests, consciousness and unpaid activity of refugees and asylum seekers in shaping their relationships with the British state, including case studies from
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  1 The Management of Oppression: Focussing on relationships between refugees andthe British state in Newcastle upon Tyne (Tom Vickers, PhD thesis) Abstract This thesis uses an empirically informed Marxist analysisto investigate the role of interests, consciousness and unpaid activity of refugeesand asylum seekersin shapingtheir relationships with the British state, including case studies fromthe city of Newcastle upon Tyne. I arguethat antagonism between the British state and refugeesfrom economically underdeveloped countries is rooted in capitalistrelations of production, with Britain occupying an imperialist position.Thethesis advancesa novelperspectiveon ‘social capital’, understood as purposive and sustained forms of non-contractual engagement, with implicit norms and values. Social capital is‘unmasked’ asa way of understanding and interveningin relations at an individual level, in order toinfluence change at a social level. I arguethat the tendencyofrecent Labourgovernments’policy has been to break up social capital formations among refugeeswhich are seen as threatening, whilst actively cultivating formations which engagerefugees on an individual basis, as part of managingtheir oppression. The thesisidentifies contradictions and possibilities for resistance within this process, such assimultaneous tendencies for volunteeringto contribute to more collective forms of identity and moreindividualisedforms of action.The multi-level research design exploresprocesses connecting the individual to theglobal. Empirical dataisused to interrogate and develop a theoretical framework whichis rooted in classical Marxism, draws on insights developed within qualitative socialresearchmethods and anti-oppressive practice, and engages creatively with challengesfrom post-modernism and feminism. The methodology combines: theoretical research;secondary statistics and literature at an international level; interviews with keyparticipants and archival research on local histories of migration and settlement,including threeorganisationalcase studies; four contemporary organisational casestudies; and individual volunteer case studies based on semi-structured interviews andfocus groups with eighteen refugees and asylum seekers.  2 The Management ofOppression Focussingonrelationshipsbetween refugees and the British statein Newcastleupon TyneTom VickersThesis submission for Doctor of Philosophy(PhD)School of Applied Social Sciences (Social Work)Durham University2010  3 Contents PageList of Tables6Dedication, acknowledgements and copyright7Chapter 1 - Background and Rationale 8 Social capital theory and practice 11 Making the case for Marxism 14 A Marxist analysis ofracism 16 Definition of terms 19 Structure of the thesis 20Chapter 2 - A Qualitative Marxist Methodology 23 Ethics and politics 23 Reflexive and committed research 23 Relationshipswith research participants 26 Research design 29 Sampling 33 Data collection 37 Data analysis 39 Writing up 41 Conclusions 42Chapter 3 - Imperialism and the Political Economy of Refugee Creation 44 Capitalism’s tendency to crisis 46 Imperialism and national oppression 49 Inter-imperialist rivalries and war 53 Imperialism and migration 56 The reserve army and immigration controls 60 The reserve armyin practice 63 The split in the working classes 71 Conclusions 78Chapter 4 - Racism and the Political Economy of Refugee Reception 79 The position of black people in Britain 81 Racism in employment 82 Racism in the labour market 84 Racism in earnings 87 Impacts of the economic crisis 88 Direct experiences of racism 89 Imperialism, nationalism and racism 92  4 Assimilation and the reconstruction of Britishnationalism 96 Refugees in Britain and the management of migration 101 The asylum decision-making process 105 Dispersal 109 The prohibition on paid work 115 The long-term impact on refugees with status 117 Conclusions 121Chapter 5 - Refugees and the British State 122 The class basis of the imperialist state 123 The history of British state policy towards refugees 125 The position of states in the imperialist system 127 Repressive aspects of the British state and refugees 131 Welfare aspects of the British state and refugees 137 Conclusions 151Chapter 6 - Introducing the Refugee Relations Industry 153 The historical role of Britain’s race relations industry 154 Race relations in Newcastle 157 The management of racism and the black middle classes 168 The role of organisations managingrefugees’relationship tothe state 172 Direct contracting by the state: thecase of VOL 177 Delegated management of refugees: thecase of COM 179 Contradictions and dilemmas in the role of mediatingorganisations 181 Conclusions 185Chapter 7 - Social Capital and the Management of Refugees’Oppression 187 Labour’s turn towards social capital 188 Refugees’incentives to engage 194 Survival as a starting point 197 Material incentives 200 Non-material incentives 202 Influence of previous forms of social capital 205 Outcomes of social capital building with the state 209 Social capital and the asylum context 210 Norms of engagement with the state 213 Whose interests does social capital serve? 216 Ideology mediates contradictions 220 Conclusions 224  5 Chapter 8 - Building Oppositional Social Capital 227 The spontaneous development of non-materialincentives 229 The development of collective consciousness 229 Spontaneous starting points and individual agency 231 Bridging on a class basis 240 Engagement with thestate as a learning experience 242 Countervailing tendencies against the development of collective consciousness 245 The impact of self-predicted class trajectories 247 Changes in forms of action after securing status 250 Bridging on a political anti-racist basis 253 Conclusions 264Chapter 9 - Conclusions and Recommendations 265 Re-interpreting social capital 269 Implications for practice and policy 270 Wider implications and possible future directions 272 Notes 275 References 276 Appendices 297 Appendix i: International Definition of Social Work298Appendix ii:Research Ethics and Risk Assessment Form A (relevant excerpts)300Appendix iii: Fieldwork Risk Assessment304Appendix iv:Fieldwork Health Declaration305Appendix v: Research Ethics and Risk Assessment Form B (relevant excerpts)306Appendix vi: Introductory Letter to Organisations308Appendix vii:Information Sheet for InterviewParticipants309Appendix viii:Consent Form for Interview Participants311Appendix ix:Organisational Case Summaries312Appendix x:Interview Participants’ Attributes313Appendix xi:Prompt Questions from First Round of Interviews314Appendix xii:Mixed Focus Group Presentation Slides315Appendix xiii: Case Level Analysis Template316Appendix xiv:Thematic Meta-Matrix317Appendix xv:Final Thematic Structure Used in Nvivo Coding318Appendix xvi:Participant Trajectories320Appendix xvii: Early Thesis Structure322Appendix xviii:Components of the Refugee Relations Industry325
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