04 November 2020

How do the negotiations in society about which migrants are to stay and be allowed welfare services, and which are not, look like? What are the differences between England, Denmark and Sweden? This is studied by Pouran Djampour, new post doc at REMESO, and colleagues for two years. Djampour answers four questions about her research.

Pouran Djampour, Linköping University, researches how welfare services for migrants are negotiated.
Pouran Djampour.

Pouran Djampour will the next two years work as a postdoc researcher at REMESO in the project “Migrants and solidarities: Negotiating deservingness in welfare micropublics” (MIGSOL). A project that analyzes migration and solidarity in three countries based on the concept of "deservingness". Pouran Djampour will work with Anders Neergaard, professor at REMESO, and with four other researchers from England and Denmark. Each research group will conduct case studies in their respective countries.

What is meant by the term "deservingness"?

– Deservingness is a theoretical concept with which we try to capture the ongoing negotiations in society about which migrants are allowed to stay and allowed welfare services, and which are not. We study not only actual authority rulings, but also how migrant networks and civil society activists work on the basis of ideas about who are deserving service, help and protection of various kinds. So questions and negotiations about who belongs to society and deserves protection and support are done at different levels and in different contexts.

Why are you studying this now?

–  Laws and regulations, as well as the discussion in general, often change in this area, in recent years in a clearly austere direction. So officials have to make new assessments, they have to deal with changing institutional frameworks for their assessments, but they also have a more independent professional framework to deal with.

How does "solidarity" come into this?

–  Solidarity is linked to varying understandings and negotiations on deservingness. For example, the right to a residence permit is becoming more and more linked to what the individual is considered to be able to “do for society” rather than the grounds for and the right to protection, per se. This shift, which we notice, means a shift in the view of who is considered to deserve welfare support. Ideas about the "good" versus the "burdensome" migrant gain ground. These shifts occur not only in the practice of the authorities and in laws but also in the public discussion, so in a sense it has an impact of how we regard and understand solidarity.

How come you chose to work at REMESO?

– There is no other university in Sweden that has this cutting-edge competence in migration, combined with a critical perspective. I have my foundation in political science and social work, but with a focus on migration. So that fits very well into my interests. I had learned anout the Institute as a doctoral student. Then I participated in two educations at the REMESO Graduate School. They left a strong impression. It was the international environment both in terms of teachers and students and also that there was such a high ceiling in the discussions. It was very rewarding. I still have contact with several of the other course participants in a kind of network that lives on, but was founded in the graduate school course.

About Pouran Djampour

Pouran defended her dissertation in 2018 at Malmö University on the dissertation Borders crossing bodies: the stories of eight youth with experience of migrating. She has a background as a political scientist, but this was an ethnographic study more in social work and based on sociological theory and the emerging field of Border Studies, with, among other things, feminist and postcolonial perspectives.

The dissertation wanted to challenge the simplified images, the singular story, which often gets to depict unaccompanied young migrants. Instead, Pouran showed how unaccompanied minors have different, individual and complex life stories, which however, are shaped by experiences they partly share and which, among other things, can mean that many are forced into undocumented lives due to bureaucratic processes. Central organizational themes in her dissertation were time, love, intimacy, hope and resistance



Research in Ethnicity and Migration

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