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Caroline Lanskey - Institute of Criminology, Small Grant Award, June 2015

Professional Knowledges of Migration: A Comparison of Health/Social Care, Education and Criminal Justice

Summary of the Project

Three scoping reports were prepared in the following areas:  health/social care, education and criminal justice as a step towards the submission of a major research grant during the summer of 2015.   The sum of £1000 has been spent on research assistance in relation to the scoping studies (with a supplementary grant from the Centre for Community, Gender and Social Justice, at the Institute of Criminology).

The ‘Professional Knowledges of Migration’ research has three broad aims:

1)     To identify the ways in which professional communities within the welfare state alongside central and local government policy-makers construct the ‘migrant other’ and regulate the ways in which their status and needs should be addressed;

2)     To uncover the ways in which the presence of migrant communities as ‘clients’ shapes or reshapes professional knowledge and practice, within key state institutions;

3)     To investigate how migrant communities engage with welfare and regulatory professions, and with what consequences.

In the context of the scoping studies, this has meant an aim to i) identify and compare and contrast the ways in which particular professional groupings construct the ‘migrant other’; ii) establish a respository of key legal and policy documents, iii) describe the professional knowledge architecture, including key professional associations, regulator, inspectorates and lists of relevant websites; iv) identify the availability and content of relevant data sets and statistical categories; v) engage in preliminary discourse analysis (in relation to legal and policy documents, as well as both regulated and unregulated sources of professional guidance); iv) engage in preliminary consideration of issues/questions/search terms for future academic literature reviews.

The work involved a week (or thereabouts) of web-based research in education, criminal justice and health and social care.

The scoping report has three main sections: 1) Migration and Education 2) Migration and Criminal Justice, and 3) Migration and Health & Social Care.

Interestingly, in 1) the terms used are those of ‘migrant learner’ or EAL learners (English as an Additional Language) or ESOL learners (English for Speakers of other languages); asylum seekers are classed as overseas students, refugees or classes as home students.  Migrant others are also referred to by their ethnicity. The orientation appears to be one of identifying migrant learners’ needs and seeking ways to include and integrate migrant learners.  In regard to training it is not clear what, precisely is offered at the teacher training level, but a range of resources is available for those teaching migrant children.  There is no overview of training or training needs.

In 2), the discourse is one of ‘foreign nationals’ or ‘illegal immigrants’ and the professional orientation revolves around ‘removal’.  Training varies according to professional grouping.  Induction training for immigration staff is approximately nine weeks: five weeks class room based learning followed by four weeks of mentored practical work under the supervision of officers.   Police officers receive minimal input on ‘diversity’ issues as part of the their two year training; training for legal professionals focuses on legal issues relating to immigration, detention, nationality law and human rights – but varies according to legal jurisdiction.    Prison Officers receive either 8 weeks or 4 weeks standard initial training (depending on whether they join a public or private prison, respectively).  There does not appear to be anything directly on working with migrants, but ‘race relations’ and ‘diversity’ training falls under the auspices of ‘professional development’.    There is no overview of training or training needs.

In 3) the orientation is very much one of ‘putting patients’ or people/consumers first; effective communication and consent are the hallmarks of health and social care.  ‘Equality and Diversity’ are explicitly mentioned in training (for medics, health and social care workers).  The overall orientation appears to be one of health and wellbeing for all, although operationally we do not know what happens.   The landscape is large and complex, but ‘equality’, ‘diversity’, ‘inclusion’, ‘health inequalities’ appear to be the overarching discourses.

Next Steps:

The next steps are to complete a series of focus group discussions with the three professional groupings and to prepare a research bid on the basis of work achieved thus far.   This will help us to refine our research questions.  

The research proposal may be submitted to the Wellcome Foundation, Leverhulme, ESRC or Nuffield. 


Please note that the CAMMIGRES network has been superseded by the Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement.

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