Refugees, Capitalism and the British State

Implications for Social Workers, Volunteers and Activists

Refugees, Capitalism and the British State LOOK INSIDE
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  • Tom Vickers, Senior Research Assistant, Northumbria University, UK Senior Research Associate at Northumbria University, UK
  • Today, in a period of economic crisis, public sector cuts and escalating class struggle, Marxism offers important tools for social workers and service users to understand the structures of oppression they face and devise effective means of resistance. This book uses Marxism's lost insights and reinterprets them in the current context by focussing on one particular section of the international working class - refugees and asylum seekers in Britain.

    Vickers' analysis demonstrates the general utility of a Marxist approach, enabling an exploration of the interplay between state policies, how these are experienced by their subjects, and how conflicts are mediated. The substantive focus of the book is twofold: to analyse the material basis of the oppression of refugees in Britain by the British state; and to examine the means by which the British state has 'managed' this oppression through the cultivation of a 'refugee relations industry', within a broader narrative of 'social capital building'.

    These questions demand answers if social workers and other practitioners are to successfully work with refugees and asylum seekers, and this book provides these through a detailed Marxist analysis.
  • Contents: Introduction; Racism and the political economy of refugee reception; Refugees and the British state; Introducing the refugee relations industry; Social capital and the management of refugees' oppression; Conclusion; Appendix; References; Indexes.
  • About the Author: Tom Vickers is Research Associate at Durham University, UK.
  • Reviews: 'Vickers has written a stimulating book, casting a Marxist lens on the policies with which the British state has sought to control and contain the demands of asylum seekers. Vickers' original research highlights the strengths and dignity within which asylum seekers and refugees seek to resist their subjugation as unpaid voluntary workers or marginalised low-paid labour and carve out a life in a society that cares little for them. Their capacity to look after each other stands in impressive contrast to the state's indifference. This is a book all anti-racist practitioners and students ought to read.'
    Lena Dominelli, The University of Durham, UK

    ‘Vickers' book makes an original, stimulating and thoughtful contribution, applying a familiar analysis in a new context. What marks this out from other literature regarding refugees and immigration more generally, is his use of Marxist theory to situate the discussion. Illuminated by rich local case material, this will be thought-provoking for a wide range of professional workers, not just advocates for refugees.’
    Gary Craig, Wilberforce Institute, UK

    ‘This is an informed and trenchant analysis of the role of the British state in shaping the experiences of refugees. Drawing on detailed new research and theoretical reflection it is indispensable reading for those interested in a deeper understanding of the changing position of refugees in contemporary societies.’
    John Solomos, City University London, UK

    'Vickers provides an important and timely analysis of state policies to control and contain refugees and asylum seekers in Britain today. At a time of economic crisis and wholesale attacks on the working class, its value is in a re-engagement with Marxism as a tool to understand both the global causes of the mass displacement of millions and the methods used by the British state to manage the relatively small number who find their way here… This book is significant in outlining the continued role of welfare in constructing the deserving and undeserving, and reinforcing notions of migrants as ‘other’. It takes us further, though, in understanding the place of migrant labour in the actual delivery of services.'
    British Journal Of Social Work

    'Overall, this book offers a unique understanding of the refugee’s position in Britain, which of itself contributes to the anti-racism effort generally. It is a good read for social workers, volunteers and activists who care for refugees and mediate the conflicts between the refugees and the British state; also anyone with an academic interest in issues regards refugees and asylum seekers will find this title informative and easy to access.'
    LSE Review of Books

    'The virtue of this book by Tom Vickers is its interest in examining the type of exercise of political will that would be required to bring order back into the world of people moving across international frontiers…'
    Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law