Recognising forced migrants in transnational social work
Turtiainen, K. (2018). Recognising forced migrants in transnational social work. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, 14 (2), 186-198. doi:10.1108/ijmhsc-11-2016-0042
© Kati Turtiainen. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited.
Nation states’ neoliberal policies do not regard asylum seekers and undocumented migrants as deserving of a good life. Social work in welfare states is highly connected to the policies of nation states. There is a need to address theories in social work that have a transnational focus at the local level. Axel Honneth’s recognition theory enables an approach to forced migration from the direction of personal relations and personhood itself. The core idea is that if people cannot gain recognition, this causes harm to their self-realisation. The purpose of this paper is discuss how the recognition theory overcomes a national focus in social work. Design/methodology/approach This paper is theoretical. The relations of recognition are discussed in the context of transnational social work in welfare states with forced migrants. Findings The theory of recognition in social work practice with people who do not have a residence permit is best articulated by an understanding of rights concerning all the attributes of the person, i.e. as a needy being, autonomous and particular in a community. Originality/value Forced migrants’ backgrounds provide a specific backdrop for misrecognition, which may harm self-relations. The relations of recognition contribute to social work by providing the sensitivity required to evaluate the complexity of views and attitudes that affect the way we encounter service users. The relations of recognition (care, respect and esteem) give normative criteria for communication in order to take another person as a person, which, in turn, contributes to healthy self-relations of forced migrants. ...